Dr. Psyche Loui, Ph.D.

Psyche Loui is an Assistant Professor in Creativity and Creative Practice at Northeastern University and Director of the Music, Imaging, and Neural Dynamics Laboratory (MIND Lab). For over 10 years, she has been a proud member of the LSO, which merges the arts and the sciences in a most satisfying way. When not playing the violin Psyche conducts research on brains and music, but in her spare time she pursues top-secret studies on Neural Underpinnings of Fear of Commitment (FoC), Why Women Like Nail Polish, and The Effects of Foosball on Male Bonding.

Psyche was recently featured on the BBC Capital website in an article about the fascinating connections between music and the human mind. Click on the picture below to read more!

Emily Mackey

Fresh off her graduation from Tufts University School of Medicine in May of 2018, Emily Mackey is currently a first year general surgery resident at University of Massachusetts Medical School. When she's not performing surgery, Emily enjoys cooking, skiing, running, reading, and playing the violin with the LSO. 

Emily grew up just outside of Boston, with a violin always in tow. In 2010, she graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Russian. While studying, she was Principal Second and Soloist with the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. 

Her passion for medicine is matched by her adoration of music, each requiring great practice and patience. "Without question, violin has shaped who I am today...excellence in both fields comes from years of dedication and training."

We asked her a few questions about her life, music, and medicine.

How has playing music impacted your own life and your career?

I’m currently a general surgery intern and during the residency application process last year, I thought a lot about how music has shaped my life and career decisions. I think what drew me to surgery, in part, are the similarities between the practice of surgery and the practice of music. Beyond the obvious parallel of working with one’s hands, excellence in both fields comes from years of dedication and training. I find it very satisfying to work at a musical challenge, whether it is a technical obstacle, building stamina, or understanding the musical phrasing, and then working with others to put the pieces together into a larger performance. This is similar to the process of surgical training; one starts with the basics and then builds on those skills, adding details and deeper understanding of the clinical situation. Both require focus, commitment, and the ability to work closely within a team to be successful. I’m grateful that violin has helped me develop these skills.

Have you ever felt a sort of struggle between music and your career and why?

Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, so I’ve always just assumed that it will be continue to be part of it. Time constraints are more pronounced during residency training, but I’m hoping to play as much as I can during the coming years. I find it helps me unwind after a long day, and I get great satisfaction working on etudes and pieces and discovering new bits every time I play.

How did music help to develop your own growth as a person?

Music has been one of the formative experiences of my life. Without question, violin has shaped who am I today. During high school and college, I had the opportunity to play with very talented colleagues; their focus and drive helped me push myself to become a better musician. I learned to apply the skills that I have developed as a musician, like focus, dedication, and collaboration, to other areas of my life. Through the various music programs and schools I’ve attended, I have also met wonderful people, many of whom remain dear friends today.

Why did you join the LSO?

I joined the LSO during medical school as a way to continue violin and to get involved in the Boston music and medical community. I grew up in Boston and had heard about LSO, and was excited to audition. It is a really good fit for me and my interests – I have the opportunity to play with talented musicians, learn more about the Boston medical community, and continue to do something I enjoy. Music has always been such a big part of my life, and it’s satisfying to be able to continue.

Rich Parker, M.D.

Dr. Rich Parker previously served as Chief Medical Officer for the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (BIDCO), a value-based, physician and hospital network headquartered in Westwood, Massachusetts. Under his leadership, BIDCO ranked as the highest performing Accountable Care Organization in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and ranked third nationally in 2013. After 27 years, Dr. Parker joined Arcadia Health Care which analyzes clinical data to foster improvements in patient care quality, practice efficiency, and financial performance.


"When I wasn’t playing with the Longwood Symphony, I was always listening to music.  I consider listening to music as important as playing. So, the break was not a complete break for me because I learned how to play jazz violin because my son is a jazz pianist. I really enjoyed that because it uses a different part of the brain to play that kind of music than classical music without the written page in front of you. I’ve also played folk music, in square dance orchestras, and fiddle music with bands all while I wasn’t with the LSO. Just by chance, by taking this wonderful new job at Arcadia, I played duets at the office with my colleague, Amy. She had asked me to come back to the LSO, and I thought that was a wonderful idea. I just hadn’t thought about the LSO in a long time and decided to go to a concert. I was super impressed with the difference and quality of the orchestra that I thought to myself, “Wow, this is really going to be fun.”"


Britta Swedenborg, Au.D., CCC-A

Meet Dr. Britta Swedenborg!

Dr. Britta Swedenborg is an audiologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston. She works with patients of all ages and has a variety of responsibilities including diagnostic hearing evaluations, rehabilitation including hearing aids and cochlear implants, fitting patients with hearing protection for preventative care, and intraoperative monitoring primarily during neurosurgery. Britta became interested in audiology through her desire to combine her passions for music and biology. She is constantly challenged in the quickly growing and changing field of hearing health. 

Britta has played flute and piccolo with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra for nearly four years. She started playing flute in the fourth grade and has been playing in orchestras since the seventh grade. She was drawn to playing with the LSO because of its unique mission of combining music with medicine – much like her decision to make audiology her career. In addition to playing in the orchestra, Britta enjoys participating in LSO On Call concerts with her woodwind quintet, the Accidental Quintet. In her words, "being able to connect to people through music has always been inspiring to me and has allowed for some of my most meaningful relationships, whether they are personal or professional."

Fun Facts:


- St. Paul, MN


- My main instrument is the flute, but I started on piano. I also play accordion (I played in a tango band in college) and rudimentary ukulele. Recently I started taking Scottish fiddle lessons for something new!

Favorite Current Musician:

- Chris Thile, the mandolin player and composer. I am not the first to say he is a musical genius (he has received a MacArthur Genius Grant). I was very excited when he recently took over as host of A Prairie Home Companion.

Favorite Vacation Spot:

- Definitely my family's cabin in northern Minnesota near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Getting out of the car and smelling the fresh air at the end of the 6-hour drive immediately relaxes me.

If you could play with any musician (dead or alive) who would it be?

- Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst. He can really play anything, and just happens to dance at the same time! I recommend looking him up on YouTube if you haven't seen him perform.

What did you want to do for a living when you were a child?

- I think I used to want to grow up to be Gene Kelly (totally realistic) because I loved his dancing in all his movies, especially "Singin’ in the Rain".


Heidi Greulich, Ph.D

Meet Heidi Greulich!

Dr. Heidi Greulich is a cancer biologist, and her work focuses on using cancer genomics data and small molecule screening to identify and experimentally validate therapeutic targets in cancer. Biology became an early passion thanks to a high school biology class, where she learned that one could describe life in the language of chemistry. She says, “that was a huge revelation to me at the time, and continues to fascinate me as a professional biologist.”

Heidi has played cello with the LSO for 22 seasons, and last year celebrated her 100th concert!  One of the highlights of being part of the LSO for Heidi is the partnerships she has developed through the years. She says, “I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my work with a different set of colleagues. But I appreciate even more the good friends with diverse interests whom I have met through the orchestra.”

In addition to her biomedical work, Heidi is also an avid biker. She counts her biggest non-professional accomplishment as biking the Alpe d’Huez and Mount Ventoux in France. Closer to home, she enjoys biking the Minuteman Trail with her husband, Chris, and 9-year old son, Matthias.

Thomas A. Sheldon, M.D.

Meet Dr. Tom Sheldon!

Dr. Tom Sheldon is a radiation oncologist in Concord, New Hampshire. Dr. Sheldon stays continually busy, splitting his time between taking care of his four children, making oboe reeds, and working as the President of a radiation oncology practice with multiple departments across New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He sees about 250 new patients and their families each year, often treating them with a two to nine week course of external radiation, using a linear accelerator.

Treating prostate cancer is his specialty, and he has even performed over 1,000 prostate seed Implants, a very effective yet uncommon and underutilized treatment. While Sheldon enjoys the physics and constantly changing technical aspects of treatment, he really loves getting to know each patient personally. Despite the short amount of time, he makes an effort to get to know the patients and tries to help with any other health issues. He and his team at the cancer center use all of their services to help out patients who are homeless, have addiction, or any other social issues. As he works for a community cancer center rather than an academic center, assistance like this is much more possible. Helping others in his community is important to he and his team, and they take that role very much to heart.

Fun Facts

Favorite current musician?

My favorite oboist is a German woman named Clara Dent.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I'd predict the future and adjust my cancer treatment for the maximum benefit of my patients. I would avoid learning about my own mortality.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would travel to Moscow for a tour of KGB headquarters, and have a candid discussion of their Cold War activities. In particular, I would want to know if our CIA misled the public, overstating the Soviets capabilities to forward their defense and intelligence goals. It’s such a fascinating time in our history.

What did you want to do for a living when you were a child?

I was always interested in why concert halls sound the way they do... they spent a lot of money on a poor performing arts center in Milwaukee. My dad would always complain. When I got to college, I checked out Acoustical Engineering, but it was clearly a "dark art." Best I can tell, it still is.

What three items would you bring to a deserted island?

Olive oil, oboe with accessories, and matches.