Most people know Dr. George Freundlich for his long and successful career as a Canadian medical professional, but he has also led a double life with his robust career as a professional musician.
His passion for music began at a young age, stimulated early on by his parents’ passion for the art form. When George was just two years old, his parents took him to see opera performances in their hometown of Cluj. About a year later, when a couple of local opera singers heard him singing in Central Park, they urged George’s parents to enroll him in a school that could foster his musical gifts.
While still a musical student in Romania, George Freundlich was selected to perform with the Romanian Youth Orchestra in Aberdeen, Scotland at the inaugural International Festival of Youth Orchestras in 1973. There he was selected in the World’s Youth Orchestra performing concerts in London. Exactly 30 years later, George led the Canadian Youth Orchestra to the same festival and was a Red Carpet Guest of Honour in 2003.
A career musician, George played with the award-winning Timmins Symphony Orchestra (trombone) and the Timmins All Star Big Band (trombone, saxophone). In 1997, George was elected a member of the Board of Directors of Orchestras Canada. He retired from the Orchestra in 2019.
The photos below are a selection of Dr. George’s fascinating and colorful life in music!
While many people know Dr. George Freundlich for his medical career, he’s also a career musician who has regularly performed on trombone, saxophone — and several other instruments — for decades.
After 25 years of jazz and classical music performances, Dr. George retired from the award-winning Timmins Symphony Orchestra (trombone) in 2019. He also received an Award of Appreciation in 2005 for 10 years of dedicated and valuable contributions to the orchestra.
However, Dr. George continues to play with the Timmins All Star Big Band on both trombone and saxophone.
Now you can enjoy listening to some of Dr. George’s best music performances from the comfort of your home!
The career musician has posted many of his performances on several platforms online, including YouTube, SoundCloud and MixCloud.
Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re looking for some local flavor of classic Christmas hits, check out Dr. George’s YouTube channel, where you can watch several videos of a Christmas concert performance by the Exploits Jazz Band, featuring Dr. George on trombone!
Dr. George has recorded many of the greatest jazz standards of all time during his long tenure with the Timmins All Star Big Band. On his SoundCloud account, you can listen to live recordings from some of the big band’s best concerts.
The SoundCloud playlist includes jazz songs like Basin Street Blues, September in the Rain, It Had To Be You, How High The Moon, Embraceable You, Satin Doll, and many more.
One of Dr. George’s favorite concerts was the Timmins Symphony Orchestra and Timmins All Star Big Band sharing the stage to perform the music of one of the 20th century’s greatest composers: George Gershwin.
On Dr. George’s MixCloud page, you can hear their performance of “Rhapsody in Blue,” but check back soon for more recordings.
Dr. George’s Musical History
You can also learn more about Dr. George’s long personal history with youth orchestras in Canada and around the world, or about some of his music-related travels, by reading the recent articles below.
George Freundlich: Canadian Musician Reflects on Importance of Youth Orchestra
“Growing up in Romania, Dr. George Freundlich's family supported his musical gifts from a young age. His parents took him to opera performances when he was just two years old. A year later, while playing with other children in Central Park he was singing an aria in the park when a couple of local singers from the Opera House stopped to listen.”
Read the rest here.
Globe Trotter Dr. George Freundlich Presents – The Opera House In The Jungle
“Tourists from around the globe are awestruck when they first set their sights on The Manaus Opera House located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. You read that correctly. There is an opera house in the jungle!”
Read more here.
In addition to the many articles and video interviews about Dr. George Freundlich in newspapers and news stations across Canada,AND ROMANIA the native Romanian never lost touch with his country and people, being a very proud Canadian and Romanian.
In addition to sponsoring books by several prominent Romanian authors, Dr. George was also frequently featured in Clujeanul, the newspaper of his hometown Cluj-Napoca.
Some of Dr. George’s many travels, medical accomplishments and musical career have all been featured in the newspaper, which published lengthy descriptions of his career, as well as quite a few photos.
Even if you can’t read Romanian, there’s more to be learned about Dr. George’s career with a perusal of the Romanian newspaper articles published below.
The idea of an accepted list of Wonders of the World has existed for a long time. It began with the most prominent places in Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean, including The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and the Pyramids of Egypt. As some of those sites no longer exist, the list has received a few updates since then. Most notably in 2000, when the New 7Wonders of the World campaign created a poll to establish a new list of seven wonders.
Having visited more than 100 countries, it should come as no surprise that avid globetrotter Dr. George Freundlich did see and admire the “7 Wonders of the World,” ; moreover he also visited world-renowned landmarks that could become Wonder of the World at some point in the future.
While on some occasions the purpose of the trip was solely to see and admire a certain “Wonder of the World” ( i.e. Easter Island, Victoria Falls), in most other cases visiting the Wonders of the World or world-renowned landmarks was a top priority while visiting a country for many other reasons (i.e. Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, etc.). So without further ado, let’s join Dr. George in visiting these most interesting monuments.
George and the 7 Wonders of the World
1. The Great Wall of China
2. Pyramids of Giza - Egypt
3. Machu Picchu - Peru
4. The Moaïs - Easter Island - Pacific Ocean - Chile
5.Taj Mahal - India
6. Christ the Redeemer - Rio de Janeiro - Brasil
7. Victoria Falls – Africa - Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
Internationally renowned landmarks
1. Iguaçu Falls - Brasil & Argentina
2. Angkor Wat - Cambodia
3. Petra - Jordan
4. Pagodas and stupas - Bagan - Myanmar(Burma)
5. Sydney Opera House - Australia
6. Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasília - Brasil
7. Taipei 101 SkyScraper – Taiwan
8. Eiffel Tower - Paris - France
In addition to his enormously busy careers as a doctor and musician, quite amazingly Dr. George has always found time for other projects, from managing Canada’s youth orchestra to writing reviews for the New York Metropolitan Opera to compiling anthologies of his favorite classical music performances.
But Dr. George, also a philanthropist, is also a man of letters who has sponsored several books by authors from his native Romania. They include Zile Si Nopti Pe Stadion by Ioan Chirila, Paleta si Planeta by Paneth Farkas, and Ar Fi Fost Prea Frumos by Ioan Chirila, Ion Tiriac, and Ilie Nastase. Freundlich also sponsored another book called “Nadia,” but a copy is not currently available. You can see a newspaper synopsis of each book below, but you’ll have to know Romanian to read them!!!
Dr. George Freundlich has led a full life. He is a career musician, an internationally recognized physician, a dedicated philanthropist, and an avid globetrotter who has visited more than 100 countries. In this lengthy article from The Enterprise, the Ontario newspaper that wrote many stories about Dr. George during his 25 years with the Bingham Memorial Hospital in Matheson, you will find a detailed account of his life story. A Romanian who made a new life for himself in Canada, Dr. George has a life story full of drama and surprises. Freundlich’s story has the making of a blockbuster movie. It encompassess hardship, outstanding achievement and a constant desire for improvement. Through tenacity and determination, he overcame many roadblocks to become Physician of the Year in 2008 (The Council Award). In this account, there are details that many of his closest friends may not know. If you’d like to know more about Dr. George’s amazing life, this is a great place to start
In 2008, Dr. George Freundlich was honored with the prestigious Council Award by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for his absolutely outstanding care. There are only four other awards like this. It’s equivalent to Physician of the Year.
One of the proudest moments of my life was being honored by my own country with an award for my “outstanding humanitarian and cultural achievements.”
The ceremony was initially to take place on December 1, 2012, to coincide with the National Day of Romania. I had to decline that date because of my duties as a full-time emergency physician at Bingham Memorial Hospital in Matheson, Ontario. It wasn’t the first time I was forced to pass on a ceremony because of my medical responsibilities.
The same thing happened many years earlier when I couldn’t attend my own citizenship ceremony in St. John’s. I was the only doctor in the small mining community of Buchans, so the citizenship officials drove seven hours one-way to have a ceremony just for me in the A.M. Guy Memorial Hospital of Buchans.
So for this award, the ceremony was postponed until February 15, 2013, in the office of the Consulate General of Romania in Toronto.
The award declared me an “International Humanitarian, Philanthropist and Cultural Ambassador” by the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania.
Many important people attended this ceremony for me, including the new Consul General of Romania in Toronto, Mrs. Antonella Marinescu. Also in attendance were Mrs. Katherine Carleton, the Executive Director of Orchestras Canada, Dr. Alexandru Bologa, former Professor and Chair of Surgery at the University “Babeş-Bolyai” from Cluj-Napoca, my hometown in Romania, and Mr. Mike Milinkovich, mayor of Black River-Matheson community.
There were also physicians, friends of mine, journalists and members of the Romanian-Canadian community of Toronto.
The very nice letter, about the accomplishments of mine that warranted the award, was delivered as a speech by Dr. Doru Liciu, consul of the office of the Consulate General of Romania in Toronto.
It is a very nice speech that summarizes my achievements in music, medicine, travel and philanthropy. I have included a copy of the letter on this website.
Some of the details have been written about extensively in other publications, like my 2003 trip to Aberdeen, Scotland, when I led the Canadian Youth Orchestra at the 30th Anniversary of the International Youth Orchestra Festival.
Or my famous three months in 1989 as the only physician at the Dr. A. M. Guy Memorial Hospital in the remote mining town of Buchans, Newfoundland.
“He was on call for three months 24/7 without any break! He could not travel to St. John's for his Canadian Citizenship papers,” the consul said in her speech. “When the Immigration Officers found out why, in an unprecedented gesture, the top-ranked officers travelled to Buchans, where the Citizenship Ceremony took place in the hospital's Board Room. Newfoundland Premier Honorable Brian Peckford invited Dr. George to St. John's to personally congratulate him for his tremendous work and sacrifices.”
Other details are not so well known, like the moon crater sharing my name:
“Even on the moon — there is a crater called FREUNDLICH! In many of the countries visited, Dr. George presented scientific papers and received well deserved diplomas,” Dr. Doru Liciu said in the speech. “Many call Dr. George "An Unsung Hero" and "A National Treasure" quite frankly for good reasons.”
Though covered in Romania, many in Canada may not be aware of my cultural contributions to Romania, which the speech also mentions:
“In Romania, he is a most generous sponsor in the cultural life and has significant contributions in the printing/or reprinting of numerous books, including "Nadia", "Ar fi fost prea frumos" "Argentina", "Zile şi nopţi pe stadion", "Paleta şi planeta”, etc.).”
The speech ends with a splendid acknowledgement of my life’s work, for which I will be forever grateful:
“Through his exceptional accomplishments in Canada, this fine gentleman of Romanian heritage makes us all Romanians immensely proud. He is a credit and an inspiration to all and first and foremost to Romanians,” Dr. Doru Liciu said in the speech.
She continued: “We feel that through his exceptional achievements in Canada, Dr. Freundlich brought honour to his native Romania and has certainly contributed to enhancing its prestige. Dr. George Freundlich is a Canadian citizen, however, in our view he is a public's person and a world citizen. He certainly is an (unofficial) Canadian and Romanian “goodwill” ambassador around the world, and we all are, in turn, proud of him.”