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Anna Schwartz, Richard Zhang and Nicholas Krueger may be in the midst of a busy schedule as medical students at the University of Manitoba, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find time for their shared passion.

The trio are all classical musicians and will be performing a number of works this week as part of Music ‘N’ Mavens, including selections from Beethoven, Bach, Dvorak, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saens.

They call themselves, “Noted Docs.”

Schwartz, 37, and Zhang, 24, play the piano and Krueger, 28, plays the violin. They will also be joined by Schwartz’s 13-year-old daughter Sheva, who plays the cello.  

For all three of them, music is an important part of their lives and despite being hard at work in med-school; they knew they wanted to find ways to fit music into their schedules.

“In medicine there isn’t really any room for creativity because you’re just learning facts,” said Krueger, at the group’s rehearsal this past Saturday. “This is really sometimes the only way for me to be creative and it opens up a different part of my brain.”

Schwartz and Zhang agree.

“For myself I didn’t really have a chance to meet many musicians here before,” said Schwartz. “I was lucky when I started medical school to discover that some of my classmates are very talented and it made sense for us to play together, which is awesome.”

“They put it very succinctly,” Zhang said. “Every piece of music has a story behind it and immersing myself in it allows my mind to wander and think about things other than school.”

“It gives meaning to life really,” added Krueger. “Just learning facts or whatever, it’s hard to assign meaning to that, but there’s meaning in music.”

Anna Schwartz practicing on the piano with her daughter, Sheva

The three students come from vastly different backgrounds. Schwartz was born in Russia and started playing the piano as a child. She lived there until she was 17 and most of her musical learning took place there.

Zhang grew up in Calgary and started playing the piano when he was seven. He graduated from the Mount Royal University Academy of Music in 2010 before coming to Winnipeg.

Krueger started playing the violin at the age of five while he was growing up in Louisiana. He went to Suzuki Centenary School in Shreveport. From there he moved to Winnipeg as a teenager and continued learning, eventually composing his own music.

They never thought medical school in Manitoba would bring them together with other like-minded musicians.

“We were very fortunate that we were in the same place at the same time,” said Schwartz. “When I found out there were other classical musicians in my class I knew we just had to play together.”

“It’s not often you find people who like to play the same pieces that you like to play and we just happened to be in the same class,” Krueger said. “It’s really exciting.”

“Absolutely,” Zhang said, gesturing towards Krueger and Schwartz. “It’s a privilege to have other musical people in my class and I think over the course of our collaboration we’ve started to develop that synergy that enhances the whole music experience and I’m very thankful for that.”

Music ‘N’ Mavens is taking place every Tuesday and Thursday until March 16, 2017 at the Rady JCC Fitness Centre at the University of Manitoba. “Noted Docs” will perform this Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 2 pm.

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