The Kendall Square Orchestra, led by music director Kristo Kondakçi, will present an evening of music and talks to raise awareness and funding for research, patient advocacy and scientific outreach programs that relate to the devastating neurodegenerative disease Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). The Massachusetts General Hospital Frontotemporal Disorders (MGH FTD) Unit will be the primary beneficiary of funds raised through the event. The program will feature a chamber music performance featuring Mr. Lockhart as pianist, world class soloists from the Boston Symphony playing alongside an ensemble of musicians drawn from the Kendall Square community, and talks by clinicians, researchers, and caregivers.

Kendall Square Orchestra (K2O) was founded in 2018 by scientists from Biogen and Pfizer with a mission to connect professionals from across the diverse academic and corporate community of Kendall Square through music.  K2O also seeks to support industry and community events related to healthcare & education and promote community engagement, teamwork, and leadership. An important part of the orchestra’s activity includes creating events that bring together partners from the patient, medical, and industry communities to support progress towards treatment of difficult diseases.

Symphony for Science has the dual goal of raising awareness of FTD and raising funds to support FTD research. The fundraising beneficiary will be the Massachusetts General Hospital Frontotemporal Disorders (MGH FTD) Unit, led by director Brad Dickerson, MD. The MGH FTD Unit is engaged in active research that centers on the development of high resolution imaging techniques that will be used to improve early diagnosis and serve as biomarkers for clinical trials. This can provide increased clarity and understanding for patients and families about the conditions affecting them, while also preparing stronger techniques for diagnosis and monitoring in preparation for disease-modifying treatments of the future.

The organizers of Symphony for Science have multiple personal connections to this devastating condition:  K2O co-founder Kelly Clark’s mother was recently diagnosed and the Boston musical community lost noted oboist Laura Ahlbeck to FTD in 2015.  Laura was diagnosed at the MGH FTD Unit which provided invaluable support throughout her illness. Symphony for Science will include talks by representatives from medical research, caregiver, and industry research communities interspersed with performances by an orchestra combining the forces of K2O, members of the Boston Symphony, and other professional musicians all of whom will donate their services.  The program will conclude with a performance of the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for woodwinds and orchestra featuring Boston Symphony soloists including Richard Ranti, husband of Laura Ahlbeck, accompanied by the ensemble. The event will take place at Symphony Hall, home of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops, on May 20, 2019 and will raise significant funding to support research, patient advocacy, and scientific outreach at the MGH FTD Unit.