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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Winter 1996, Vol.16, No.1
P&S News:
Apgar Instruments to Remain at CPMC

Four stringed instruments built by the late Virginia Apgar'33 in collaboration with a patient, Carleen Hutchins, have been acquired and will be maintained at P&S.The four instruments were designed and built to complement each other as a quartet. "This is uncommon and unusual, if not unique," says Dr. Nicholas Cunningham, professor of clinical pediatrics and public health, who played the Apgar cello at the unveiling of the Apgar stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. "I can't think of any of the great violin-makers, Stradivarius included, who set about to build a group of stringed instruments meant to be played together as a group."

Another unusual aspect of the instruments is that they were built as a collaborative effort. Music, like medicine, is a collaborative enterprise, and Dr. Apgar fully appreciated the comparison, Dr. Cunningham says. "Her own field, perinatology, is in fact regarded as an amalgam of several different specialties-anesthesia, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology, to be precise. So I'm sure Dr. Apgar appreciated the parallels between her medical career and her musical avocation."

Funds were raised to acquire the instruments, and efforts are now under way to purchase insurance and a permanent display case for the quartet. Although having and displaying the instruments will serve as a memorial to Dr. Apgar, the concerts planned to utilize the instruments will be the best way to honor her memory, Dr. Cunningham says.

Shown with four Apgar-made string instruments are, from left, Dr. Nicholas Cunningham, Shanti Serdy '98, and Dr. Marco Zaider, professor of clinical radiation oncology and public health.

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