Revisiting Dr. Samuel Wong, MD, Eye Surgeon, Music Conductor: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog/Article & Radio Show for July 2024

Our blog and Radio Show revisits the life and work of Dr. Samuel Wong, MD, Eye Surgeon, and world renowned Music Conductor.

Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, teachers, authors and mathematicians have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Music is a powerful tool for motivating, inspiring, educating and soothing pain.

Our article of the month “Do You Count Your Blessings?”  by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.

Madeline’s Musical One Minute Radio Show for July 2024

“Dr. Samuel Wong how does Classical music play a part of your life as a medical doctor and conductor and what musical instruments do you play? (Re-issue from January 2012)


Dr. Samuel Wong is a medical doctor specializing in ophthalmology, an eye surgeon, a husband and father of two children, and the founder of “Global Music Healing Institute”. He is a world-renowned Conductor of the finest orchestras in the world including New York Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic of London, Japan Philharmonic of Tokyo, Hong Kong Philharmonic and all the Canadian orchestras. Dr. Wong’s passion for medicine and music has permeated his life.

Early Years:

Samuel Wong was born in Hong Kong April 1962 to John and Emily Wong. When he was 9 years old his family moved to Canada and became Canadian citizens. His parents played piano and sang during their early childhood. Samuel’s family loved music and he began playing the piano at 4 years of age and sang with a children’s choir and studied voice.

He played the piano and sang throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school from 9 to 18 years of age and always had parallel interests with a particular fascination of the relationship of mathematics and music (Pythagoras and scales).

Teachers who inspired Samuel Wong in high school:

His English teacher inspired and taught him to love Shakespeare. His math teacher introduced him to philosophy and Kundera and Kafka and his History teacher was a wonderful humanitarian.

High School at Stephen Leacock in Toronto & Royal Conservatory:

Samuel Wong attended high school at Stephen Leacock in Toronto where he was the top student in his biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics classes. In the evenings, after his high school classes were over for the day, he attended the Royal Conservatory taking night classes and summer classes.

Samuel Wong graduated high school at the top of his class and graduated from the Royal Conservatory with a degree in piano performance in 1980.

Harvard College:

He then attended Harvard College studying applied mathematics, graduating magna cum laude in 1984.

Dr. Wong said “he chose Harvard Medical School because he loved science and wanted to use his gifts to heal. Throughout his studies, Dr. Wong remained actively involved in conducting youth orchestras and conservatory orchestras.”

Dr. Wong graduated medical school in 1988 and decided on ophthalmology as his specialty because he enjoyed the physics of sight and the ingenuity of binocular vision. Dr. Wong says, “When you look into the eye, you see a living nerve, you see an artery directly, and appreciate the effects of treatment firsthand. Nowhere else in the body can you do that. After an internship in internal medicine, his ophthalmology training began at New York’s Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. At the same time, he was director of the New York Youth Symphony. It was during one of the youth symphony’s performances at Carnegie Hall that Zubin Mehta, then music director of the New York Philharmonic, heard him conduct Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring. He offered him the Philharmonic’s assistant conductor position on December 10, 1990.”

This was the beginning of Dr. Wong’s international conducting career.

Reviews on Dr. Wong conducting:

The Washington Post commented on his clarity, confidence and passion. From the Honolulu Advertiser: The Honolulu Symphony has risen to grand heights under the direction of popular maestro Wong. The Irish Times: In its Dublin debut under Wong, the Hong Kong Philharmonic made a strong impression. Wong conveyed the music’s exotic atmosphere with pointed character and brightly clashing colors.”

Dr. Wong met Dr. Truman, a pediatrician, on an airplane from Toronto where they were both visiting their mother’s. Dr. Truman was impressed with Dr. Wong’s communication with his daughter. Dr. Truman said, “The conversation was so mature and appropriate, clearly reflecting a high level of insight, sensitivity, and intelligence. I started talking to him and realized we had a lot in common. We both went to Harvard, are Canadian, and love music. Dr. Truman and Dr. Wong exchanged e-mails, letters, and met for lunch to discuss the possibility of Dr. Wong returning to medicine. On July 2005, Dr. Samuel Wong returned for a special fellowship in eye surgery to rejoin his former profession and to spend more time with his children in New York.

Dr. Samuel Wong’s Two Mentors:

Professor of Surgery, Richard E. Wilson, and Music Director of New York Philharmonic in the 1990’s, Kurt Masur. “After a chief resident complained about “minor surgeries,” Wilson stormed: “there are no minor surgeries, only minor surgeons!”  We met at 6 am sharp every morning at the Brigham and many life-changing lessons were learned on these storied rounds. He became dizzy in the OR one day, unaware of the big tumor growing in his brain. He was gone within days. He taught us about resilience and the human spirit as well as the fragility of life. Masur always advised us: “you make false friends and true enemies in our profession.” He was passionate and focused on his Art, losing himself in fiery performances, unafraid of political battles, and wise as a serpent.”

(Harvard Alumni in Healthcare: Samuel Wong, AB 1984 M.D. 1988, January 17, 2021 Compiled and Interviewed Felicia Ho)

“Musical Healing”:

Dr. Wong is passionate about “Music and Healing” and wrote an article called “Musical Healing” for the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin. Dr. Wong goes to hospitals and Veterans Hospitals sharing his gifts of music with patients to help them heal. Dr. Wong says, “In a dark corner of veterans’ hospital lies a man, 67 years old, exiled from this world. He barely moves, eats little, does not speak, recognizes no one. His face, a stubbly mess, shows neither pleasure nor displeasure—just a constant indifference ever since a stroke devastated him ten years ago. An artery in his left brain had ruptured, spilling a river of blood in his head, drowning out reason and memories, clogging his once brilliant mind. His family left him long ago.”

Dr. Wong says, “His eyes stare at the fluorescent light above, an artificial brightness that never varies. Face to face with him, I start singing an old Anglican hymn, “Come down O love divine.” His face stirs with recognition, his eyes begin searching, his breath quickens, his right hand twitches. I sing another verse, and another. I now see his face wince, question, beg, protest. His breathing has become irregular, his face human. His mouth tenses in an effort to speak; warm tears soak his eyes. Every week I would sing to this man, and every week I would witness a remarkable awakening. He never spoke, but would join in the singing of hymns with his feeble, eggshell voice. It was as if after years of hibernation, he was starting to thaw, to move, to live again. Through this window of music, a ray of light seemed to shine from the outside world directly onto his soul.”

Music is a powerful force for healing. At the Beth Abraham Hospital in Bronx, N.Y “where Dr. Oliver Sacks, neurologist, founded the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function”, Dr. Samuel Wong leads several music sessions with patients having dementia, aphasic, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. Dr. Wong says,” The Rules of the house: every- one must play or sing, no matter what instrument is wielded or what position is assumed. No infirmity is too great for this chamber music.” Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin:Music and Medicine/ Musical Healing :A physician-turned-orchestra conductor prescribes song. Samuel Wong (1988)

Dr. Wong starts “with some simple harmonies and a slow rocking rhythm on a Yamaha keyboard”, he invites “Molly, a 76-year-old aphasic from Dublin, to improvise a little ditty. “Oh Danny boy, how I miss you, my Danny boy.” Molly “sings her voice strong and eloquent. Just a moment ago she could not speak the simplest words. Next Rosita, briefly lucid and coherent from her dementia, sings in Spanish, “How much pain and suffering we must forget, my love, after all these years.”
Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin:Music and Medicine/ Musical Healing :A physician-turned-orchestra conductor prescribes song. Samuel Wong (1988)

In the hospital, on a different floor, Mrs. Miller, a retired schoolteacher awakens in the recovery room, after having “her gallbladder removed, listening to her favorite Mozart piano concerto.” She says, “I play K. 466 whenever I feel anxious or distraught. The music dissolves my pain and worries. I came into the world listening to Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and I will go to my Maker with the Lacrymosa of Mozart’s Requiem.” Mrs. Miller says, “Music in the right setting transports her to a different plane of consciousness.” Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin:Music and Medicine/ Musical Healing :A physician-turned-orchestra conductor prescribes song. Samuel Wong (1988)

December 10, 2011 will be Dr. Wong’s 20th anniversary of his debut with the New York Philharmonic. Dr. Wong continues his passion for helping his patients regain their sight and conducting concerts around the world to bring beauty into the lives of others. He also began “The Global Music Healing Institute” which stimulates research increasing public awareness, and increases and enhances the knowledge of the medical benefits of music for hospitals, nursing homes, universities, hospices, medical schools, assisted living facilities and homeless shelters.

Dr. Wong says, “With music, some patients can feel whole again, regain the self, and recall a world inhabited by loved ones, a world filled with passion and curiosity, a world ordered by knowledge and profound meaning.” Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin:Music and Medicine/ Musical Healing: A physician-turned-orchestra conductor prescribes song. Samuel Wong(1988)


Dr. Samuel Wong, M.D.: Tibet Eye Surgery Mission and Anman Jordon Mission:


Dr. Samuel Wong is a medical doctor specializing in ophthalmology, an eye surgeon, a husband and father of two children, and the founder of “Global Music Healing Institute”. He is a world-renowned Conductor of the finest orchestras in the world. Dr. Wong’s passion for medicine and music has permeated his life.


Do You Count Your Blessings?

By Madeline Frank, Ph.D.

How many of us ever remember to count our blessings? Do you give thanks for your blessings? How do you remember the people who have helped you, believed in you, and loved you over the years? Do you start the day with a positive attitude remembering the blessings you were given?

I am thankful for a wonderful caring mother, grandmother, mother-in-law and Aunt –in-law. Do you give thanks for your blessings? Every year we have special days to remind us to give thanks. We should give thanks every day for our blessings.
My Momma, Romayne Leader Frank arranged her law classes so she would be home when my older brother and I got home from elementary school. She’d have milk and cookies on the dining room table for my brother and I and she would join us with her coffee. We would all study together every day after school. Momma had her law books to study and my brother and I had our homework from elementary school to study. If you had a question Momma would say very softly, “How about opening your book and looking for the answer?”

As a child of 8, I remember thinking that it didn’t feel quite so lonely and awful anymore to sit and do our homework because Momma was right there with us doing her homework too. We worked together for three years until Momma finished law school at the top of her class. Momma, Romayne Leader Frank taught us to look for the answers to our problems. She taught us to think for ourselves.
Mary Chernick Leader, my Grandmother, my Momma’s mother, worked as a secretary at the Boroughs Corporation, had a women’s stock club where she taught other women how to study companies and invest in the stock market with little money to develop a nest egg. She also helped the Braille Society and sang and played the mandolin in a Mandolin Orchestra. She raised a wonderful daughter my Momma, Romayne Leader Frank, who learned from her patience, kindness, dedication to her family and caring about others. My Grandma Leader enjoyed reading and doing cross word puzzles and had a remarkable vocabulary which she shared with her daughter, my Momma.

When I was a child of 7, I remember Grandma Leader sitting patiently with me encouraging me to read. She had a Hershey’s Chocolate bar and a bottle of Coca-Cola on the table nearby and every page of the book I read to her I would receive the prize of a bite of chocolate and a sip of Coca-Cola. This was a big treat as both Momma and Grandma did not ordinarily let any of us eat candy or soda pop.
My Mother-in-Law, Pearl Neustein Berger was the 6th child out of 8 children born to Regina and Herman Neustein. My Mother-in- law, Pearl raised her two children, ages 5 and 13, when her husband Samuel Berger died of Cancer. She worked hard to provide for her children giving them good moral values, taught them to study and work hard, and to care about helping others. She had them go to religious services every week. She worked hard to make sure both her children went to college and graduate school.

For many years she worked at B. Altman’s in New York City, a wonderful department store. I remember, shortly after my husband Allan and I were married, my husband had to register for his next semester of graduate school and he could not get off work to go to Barnard Baruch to register. I was working that day too. His Mom, Pearl Berger, had that day off from work and she said she would get him registered at the school. She was always willing to help her children and others. She was one of the most caring and honorable people I have had the pleasure to know. She was five feet one inches tall and to me she was one of the tallest and strongest women I have known because of her caring and commitment to her family, friends and helping others.

Pearl Berger’s sister, my Aunt- in- Law, Helen Neustein was the 7th child of the family. Helen also worked at B.Altman’s Department store in the shoe department. She was a wonderful person with a very big heart raised with the values of honor and respect just like her sister Pearl. My husband, Allan, remembers her playing baseball with him as a child. She was always patient and kind. Helen was also about 5 foot one inch tall but she seemed 6 feet tall because of her caring and commitment to her family, friends, and clients.

What are 3 things you can do to remember the blessings you have been given?
1) Start your day by remembering and writing down your blessings. Think of one person who has made a positive impact on your life and do something nice for them.
2) Honor a special person in your life on a weekly basis by acts of kindness to others.
3)Think of the people who have made a difference in your life and honor them in some way by sharing those blessings with others by acts of kindness.

Remember to start your day by counting your blessings!
What have I learned from my Momma, Romayne Leader Frank, my Grandma Mary Chernick Leader, my Mother-in-Law, Pearl Neustein Berger, and my Aunt-in-Law, Helen Neustein?

1)Be patient and persistent no matter how difficult the problem and keep working to find your solution.
2) Never be overwhelmed by adversity and stick to your course of action to solve the problem.
3) Remember that if we help others we will be helping ourselves at the same time. © 2024, 2011 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking or video engagement at [email protected]

How Gabby Giffords Used Music to Regain Her Speech (January 15, 2021)  Psychology Today “The brain’s ability to rewire is only the beginning of the story.” Philip E. Stieg, Ph.D., M.D. “This Is Your Brain” .


Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through Click on the following link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”


“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” shares scientific evidence, medical evidence, test results, and true stories of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, and mathematicians who have studied and played musical instruments since they were children  by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. Click below:


“Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World”. This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album click below:

Amazon | iTunes

 “Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun easy way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.:


Wishing you and your family a Happy and Safe July 4th  from your Non-Invasive Medicine…Music Expert , Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award-winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker, conductor, and concert artist. She has discovered a scientific link between studying a musical instrument and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2024 Madeline Frank