An 8-string guitarist with a repertoire ranging from Bach to the Beatles, Andrew Schulman has been a professional musician based in New York City since 1975. He is a soloist and founder of the Abaca String Band, a string quintet.
He was the resident musician in the Surgical ICU at Beth Israel Medical Center from 2010-16, then played in the Surgical, Medical, and Neurosurgical ICUs at NYU Langone Medical Center in 2017.
In January 2016 he began a monthly residency at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA - the first hospital to accept the use of the title, Medical Musician. In August 2017 he received the first certification for Medical Musician, from Dr. Mark Pettus, BMC Medical Education Director and Associate Dean at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and in September 2017 was accepted as the first Certified Medical Musician to become a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
Andrew and his wife Wendy Sayvetz are the subjects of the documentary film Andrew & Wendy (2014) which has been presented at international film festivals and aired multiple times on PBS-TV. He is the author of Waking The Spirit: A Musician’s Journey Healing Body, Mind, and Soul (Macmillan:Picador, 2016). He and Wendy live in New York City with Phoebe, their Yellow Lab.
Suzanne comes to MMI through the influence of her late husband, Robert Crim, a classical guitarist and lutenist who was a dear friend of Andrew Schulman.
Reading Andrew’s journal, and then his book, about his work as a musician in the Beth Israel Medical Center Surgical ICU convinced her that music in critical care medicine was of great value to the well being of patients, family members, and the medical staff.
A lawyer by training, she retired from the Federal government after 30 years with the Environmental Protection Agency, helping to protect our nation’s waters, including wetlands, coastal waters, and oceans. While working she volunteered as a literacy tutor and a mentor for junior staff.
After retirement, Suzanne joined the Board of, and volunteers with, the Sarcoma Alliance, sarcomaalliance.org. She is also a member of a local charitable organization that supports local schools, students, food banks, and other causes. Through this organization Suzanne assists a kindergarten class with reading under a program she co-directs. In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, spending time with family and friends, and hanging out on the Delaware coast with her German Shepherd Dog, Leica.
Guitarist Eric Despard became interested in the power of music in medicine when he was able to help family and friends get through serious illness with music. He received his medical musician training from MMI founders, Dr. Marvin McMillen and Andrew Schulman. Eric received certification for attending a 50-hour “Medicine for Musicians” workshop at BMC July 2017 and then began working as a Medical Musician intern at BMC.
Despard is the Executive Director of the Laumeister Art Center in Vermont. He is also Assistant Professor of Humanities and the Music and Art Director at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vermont where he recently developed a Bachelor of Arts Major in Arts Administration.
A concert classical and jazz guitarist as well as composer, Eric performs regularly throughout the U.S. as a soloist and with his new music group, the Progression Ensemble. He holds a graduate degree from the Yale School of Music and an undergraduate degree from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford.
He lives in southern Vermont with his wife Michelle and son Liam.