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Meet the Performing Arts Clinic Team

Michael E. Charness, MD
Director and Founder, Performing Arts Clinic

Dr. Charness is board-certified in both Neurology and Internal Medicine and has been treating instrumental musicians since 1984. A co-founder of the Health Program for Performing Arts at the University of California, San Francisco, he established the Performing Arts Clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 1989. A Professor of Neurology and Faculty Associate Dean for Veterans Hospital Programs at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Charness serves on the editorial board of Medical Problems of Performing Artists and has lectured internationally on the subject of performing arts medicine and injury prevention. He presents annual seminars on injury prevention at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School. Dr. Charness is a pianist and performs regularly with his wife and family.

Martha R. Neagu, MD, PhD
Dr. Neagu has been treating instrumental musicians in the Performing Arts Clinic for three years. She obtained her MD and PhD degrees at Columbia University in New York City and completed her Neurology residency at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is board certified in neurology and board eligible in neuro-oncology. She studies the biology of brain tumors in the laboratory. She is an accomplished pianist who began her musical training in Munich, Germany, where she studied with Viorica Zorzor and Klaus Schilde at the Munich Conservatory. She was a frequent participant in the Jugend Musiziert programs as a pianist and chamber musician. During her undergraduate years at Yale University, she studied music theory and performance with Sara Laimon. Dr. Neagu performs regularly and can be heard as part of the Longwood Symphony outreach programs.

Christopher D. Stephen, MD, MRCP (UK)
Dr. Stephen is an attending neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH) and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. He has special interests in the comprehensive care of medical problems in musicians and neurological movement disorders, particularly focal dystonia. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK. He completed training in internal medicine at the University of Edinburgh and University of Nottingham, neurology at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Cambridge, and the Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and a fellowship in movement disorders and ataxia at MGH/BWH/Children’s Hospital.

He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and is board certified in neurology. He has been involved in the Performing Arts Clinic since 2010. Dr. Stephen is actively involved in research in performing arts neurology and movement disorders. His research interests are in the overlap between dystonia and ataxia and is part of an international research collaborative on musician’s dystonia. He is an accomplished pianist and singer and trained in piano performance at the North East of Scotland Music School with pianist Joseph Long. He was a choral scholar at King’s College and longtime member of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and continues to perform locally.


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