An audience member taken ill is a concert promoter’s nightmare, but one orchestra would take such an emergency in its stride.

Forty-one year old Slava Grigoryan is confident he suffers from no ill health. “I have never felt better!” the guitar god states categorically. Nevertheless, in Sydney in early November, Grigoryan will undergo an open examination by a hundred doctors. They will take note of his breathing, his pulse, his phrasing, his rhythm. And he will assess theirs too, as they accompany his performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuezin front of a thousand witnesses celebrating the 25th anniversary of the formation of a remarkable ensemble, the Australian Doctors Orchestra.

With over 600 members scattered throughout Australia, the ADO is anything but your average orchestra. Twice every 12 months a hand-picked cadre of specialists voluntarily quits surgeries, operating theatres, suburban medical centres and indigenous outposts to immerse themselves in the sumptuous language of classical composers. Their performances benefit medical charities and are underwritten by an extraordinary passion for music.

Australian Doctors Orchestra Michaela Mee. Photo © Georgia Monaghan.

“The doctors are hungry for it,” insists Melbourne-based emergency physician, violinist and ADO President, Michaela...