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Making Music for Mott: April 20 benefit concert by U-M Life Sciences Orchestra and violin prodigy will aid new children’s hospital


ANN ARBOR, MI – Fifteen-year-old violin prodigy Jourdan Urbach has already used his talents to raise more than $1.3 million for children’s charities. On Friday, April 20, he will continue that effort, as he joins the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra for a concert benefiting the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Called “Making Music for Mott,” the concert will feature a program of family-friendly classical music, from the William Tell Overture (otherwise known as the “Lone Ranger” theme) to well-known melodies from the opera Carmen. The LSO will be led by Music Director Clinton Ryan Smith and assistant conductor Sameer Patel, both graduate students in the U-M’s nationally noted orchestral conducting program.

Proceeds from the event will help build a Ronald McDonald House inside the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital now under construction, and will help fund a program that brings specially trained musicians to patients’ rooms.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the U-M’s famed Hill Auditorium, and will be followed by a benefit “afterglow” reception, sponsored by Bello Vino Marketplace.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for college students and seniors, and $5 for children and students up to grade 12. All tickets are general admission; there is no reserved seating. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Afterglow tickets are $25 and include sparkling cider, coffee and dessert.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, over the phone at 734-936-9134, or using a form available at that can be faxed or mailed. Advance orders may be paid by credit card, check or U-M payroll deduction. Tickets will also be sold at Mott Hospital and other locations; for dates, see the web site. For more information, e-mail

The concert’s young soloist is a student at the Juilliard School’s pre-college division who has headlined performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and has been featured in stories on CNN, Good Morning America and the Today Show, as well as in People magazine and major newspapers. He is the founder and director of Children Helping Children, a non-profit organization that brings young musicians to children’s hospitals to entertain, and sponsors benefit concerts in major venues across the country to raise money for children’s hospitals and medical organizations.

A student at Roslyn High School in New York, he was recently named his state’s only high-school winner of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award – an honor that recognizes outstanding humanitarian acts.

He is also a published novelist and performs research on myelin repair in multiple sclerosis at Stony Brook University Medical Center. He hopes to pursue a career as a neurologist or neurosurgeon.

In 2005, Jourdan offered to play a benefit concert with the LSO, which is made up of members of the U-M life sciences community, including physicians, scientists, nurses, health professionals, medical and health-sciences students, graduate students and staff.

The concert will begin with the fanfare from Also Sprach Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss – a work best known for its use in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It will followed by Franz von Suppe’s fast and furious Poet and Peasant Overture.

Then, Jourdan will join the LSO to play the haunting Violin Concerto No. 5, Op. 37 by Henri Vieuxtemps, and the Carmen Fantasie by Pablo de Sarasate, which includes highlights from the famous opera by Georges Bizet. The Peer Gynt Suite of Edvard Grieg, featuring the graceful “Morning” movement and the thrilling “Hall of the Mountain King” conclusion, will follow. The concert will conclude with the galloping William Tell Overture by Giacchino Rossini.

Before the concert and at intermission in the lobby, concertgoers will have an opportunity to learn about the “Ronald McDonald House Within a Hospital” that is planned for the new hospital. It will complement the existing house near the current hospital that can hold 29 families of hospitalized children, and children receiving advanced outpatient care, at Mott Hospital. The new “house” will give even more families a place to stay, and to bond with other families of children battling illness, for a very affordable cost. The current house is almost always full and usually has a waiting list.

The lobby will also feature a display about the Bedside Music program of the Gifts of Art program, which brings the world of art and music to the University of Michigan Health System. The bedside musicians are all certified music practitioners who are trained to perform soothing and comforting music in patient rooms and intensive-care units including the neonatal intensive care areas.

“The inclusion of the arts in a health care environment not only helps calm and comfort patients and their families; it also helps ease stress among the medical staff,” says Elaine Sims, director of Gifts of Art. The LSO is also part of Gifts of Art, and is designed to give faculty, staff, students, family members and others an outlet for their musical talents and enhance their creative energies.

Jourdan’s visit to U-M will also give him a chance to perform for Mott patients, as he has for countless other hospitalized children. He made his hospital “debut” at the age of 7, after a neurosurgeon took him on an ICU tour. “I saw firsthand the suffering of children with neurological diseases,” he said. “I left with a strong determination to bring these children some measure of peace, enjoyment, a little contagious enthusiasm, and a reminder of what’s outside the ICU door.”

Since then, in addition to his hospital playing, Jourdan has raised money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Beth Israel Medical Center, the Children’s Hearing Institute and other charities and non-profits. In April 2006, Jourdan was featured in Teen People magazine as one of the 20 teenagers who will change the world. “I hope to inspire a new generation of young philanthropists to use their artistic gifts and their creative voices to help the medical world, because it takes the ideals and energy of the young, in tandem with the wisdom and experience of the old, to raze the diseases of our time,” he says. At Juilliard, he studies under Catherine Cho – who happens to be the daughter of a U-M physician, interventional radiologist Kyung Cho, M.D.

Web addresses:
U-M Life Sciences Orchestra:
Children Helping Children:
Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor:
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital:


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