The 2021 Music for Medicine annual benefit took place on November 19th, live in New York City. 200 guests attended, including AAF board members, OMI faculty and friends, as well as committed individuals from business, law, medicine, and public service.
For more than two decades, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has supported the Open Medical Institute through Music for Medicine benefit concerts. Proceeds from the evening are instrumental for the funding of the on-site seminars in Salzburg. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s partnership with the AAF and the OMI reflects the joint commitment to humanitarianism, education, peace, and sustainability.
Each year, there is a keynote speaker present, and this year we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Christoph Huber, the co-founder of BioNTech, which developed the first m-RNA vaccine against COVID-19. Two days prior to the benefit, he was presented with a very prestigious award, the Deutscher Zukunftspreis, together with his BioNTech co-founders, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci. Dr. Huber has more than 50 years of experience in translational immunology, hematology and oncology and is chairman emeritus of the department of hematology and oncology at the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz. He was a co-founder of Ganymed, now a subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc.
The welcome speech was given by Robert Wessely, the AAF President, and Daisy Soros, the Benefit Chair. This was followed by the first performance of the Concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Rainer Honeck, playing the violin and Christopher Hinterhuber accompanying on the piano. Pieces performed included Franz Schubert’s Sonatina in D Major Op 137, No. 1, Allegro Molto, Andante, and Allegro Vivace.
After a lovely performance, guests had the opportunity to witness an interesting discussion panel, Translating Science into Survival, between Dr. Christoph Huber and Pablo Legorreta, founder of Royalty Pharma, AAF board member, and a great philanthropist.
Next was the second performance by the Vienna Philharmonic musicians, in which Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier Waltzes (Arr. V. Prihoda), Fritz Kreisler’s March miniature Viennoise, Amy Beach’s Berceuse, and Fritz Kreisler’s Spanish Dance were played.
To close the event, Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky provided an annual report about the OMI, highlighting that despite a global pandemic, this global initiative continued to educate medical professionals worldwide. He emphasized once more that only a united front can stop a pandemic, and for that, we need enough well-trained healthcare workers all over the world. It is in our best interests to invest in educating physicians globally, to adequately treat and prevent the spread of such a deadly disease, which is exactly what the OMI is doing.
The evening concluded with a very nice dinner and a paddle raise, in which guests could support OMI fellows via financial donations. We are more than grateful that Pablo Legorreta, founder of the OMI partner foundation, Alianza Médica Para la Salud, has decided to endow the OMI global health seminar series, run by the renowned Institut Pasteur. This will be the first OMI course taking place in all three hemispheres of the world: Salzburg for Central and Eastern Europe and Africa; Mexico for the Americas, and Vietnam for Southeast Asia, making the OMI a truly global program.
We would like to thank all who attended and contributed for making this a very successful and enjoyable evening!