P&S Journal: Winter 1995, Vol.15, No.1
In (and on) This Issue: ART
P&S students and graduates have long been known as a creative lot. Consider the successful musical avocations of the late Virginia Apgar'33, who was an accomplished cellist and violist who also built her own stringed instruments. Or the late Albert W. Grokoest'43D, founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and a concert violist who played throughout Europe and was violist for the Mexican Chamber Orchestra. He also is remembered for founding a string ensemble at P&S.
Jay Lefkowitch'76 composes music. Charles Doolittle'52 sings in California theatrical productions. Several recent graduates formed a jazz rhythm and blues band. The musical proclivity of P&S students is well-known, and the P&S Student Handbook says Columbia has more musicians than any other medical school in the country. The P&S Musicians' Guild, an umbrella organization for the musically inclined, is profiled in this issue.
Creativity is rooted in the letters as well. Allen Wheelis'43M and Bruce Forester'65 are novelists. Some P&S-educated authors went so far as to choose the literary world over the medical world, Robin Cook'66 and the late Walker Percy'41 being notable examples. The poets among alumni include Reese Alsop'44 and Grace Herman'49. Two current students received honors in last year's William Carlos Williams poetry competition (see P&S News, page 28). This issue also reports that Jane Hu'68 Ph.D. has a collection of poetry in a book published by the American Literary Press.
And then consider the broad strokes of fine art talent. In recent issues, readers learned that Anne Bingham Wright'55 had a show of watercolor and acrylic paintings in Connecticut. David Shainberg'58, a psychoanalyst who died in 1993, used his retirement to devote more time to his abstract impressionist painting.
In this issue alone, readers learn of two alumni with fine art experiences: Grif Bates'61, a Maryland psychiatrist, had a one-man show of his paintings at a gallery in Easthampton, N.Y. Jean-Claude Michel'47, a retired cardiologist in Seattle, won first prize for a watercolor in the Frye Art Museum's annual Puget Sound Area Exhibition.
This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, and it's likely that students, faculty, and alumni have artistic achievements they have kept to themselves.
One achievement is unveiled on this issue's cover, where Chris French'95 has re-created in oil the view outside his room in the Bard-Haven Towers. The George Washington Bridge, arguably the most famous New York City landmark associated with P&S, has special meaning to Chris. Besides being captivated by the bridge's view from his window, he remembers the bridge as the first thing he saw when he moved to New York City to start medical school.
A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, Chris started college as an art major. By the end of his undergraduate years, he had a bachelor's degree in biology. He has long had one foot in the art world, however. In college, he was a violist for the UCLA Symphony Orchestra and for a string quartet and trio. At P&S, he has been a violist for the Le Berghe String Quarter and for the Bard Hall Players. He has illustrated posters for six Bard Hall Players productions.
This view from his window will be immortalized in a magazine cover worth framing and recalling as Chris pursues an academic career in pathology. Although his professional life will be in medicine, his love for art and music will never be more than a paintbrush or a viola away.
Bonita Eaton Enochs