Freedom from Torture - From Russia with love

From Russia with love

Rachmaninov symphony is highlight of Doctors’ Orchestra annual fundraiser for Freedom from Torture

Rachmaninov’s thrilling Symphony No.1 provided the climax to the Doctors’ Orchestra’s concert in aid of Freedom from Torture at London’s Cadogan Hall on 27 February. It was the first occasion the symphony had ever been played at the prestigious venue.

The Doctors’ Orchestra gave the enthusiastic audience a rare opportunity to hear this wonderful symphony with its troubled history.

Rachmaninov’s symphony was poorly received by an unappreciative audience at its premiere in 1897. He was so hurt by the reception that he hid the musical score. It was only discovered and given a second performance in Russia in 1945 and not premiered in the UK until 1964. It has since come to be recognised as a masterpiece.

The first half of the concert was equally enticing, if less turbulent. It started with Berlioz’s sparky Overture Beatrice and Benedict, about Shakespeare’s bickering but ultimately reconciled lovers. It was followed by Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs, sung with tenderness and warmth by Portuguese soprano Susana Gaspar.

This is Doctors’ Orchestra’s eighth fundraising concert for Freedom from Torture. Conductor Stephen Brearley, a consultant surgeon, has garnered a unique ensemble of 80 gifted doctor-musicians from across the world. The conductor and orchestra played with verve and commitment and brought forthright appreciation from the 700 strong audience.

Susan Munroe, Chief Executive of Freedom from Torture, said:

“It was wonderful to experience such great music. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Stephen Brearley and all the musicians who took part in such a memorable evening.

“As always, the concert is a highlight of our fundraising calendar and this time it raised a record-breaking amount of £27,800. Special thanks to everyone who attended and donated, and to the advertisers in our programme and to the donors of the Grand Raffle.” 

A big thank you to the advertisers and donors of the Grand Raffle:

The East London Liquor Company (

Goat Chelsea (

Thames Rockets (

Grace Belgravia (

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club (

Girasole (

The Early Music Shop (

Investing Ethically (



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