The Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards: Solicited Articles - Silver
When neurosurgeon Dr. Daniel Lu is not operating on patients’ spines and conducting groundbreaking research, he drives to a small workshop tucked into a strip mall in Los Angeles where, trading his scalpel and scrubs for an apron and plane, he is surrounded by wood shavings and the scent of glue and varnish as he handcrafts exquisite violins. The instruments that he builds have been played by leading concert musicians, who proclaim their near perfection and excellence. He also shares his violins with promising students in the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Lu’s is a remarkable story of dedication, love, and skill that exemplifies the outstanding and multifaceted quality of faculty at UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
What was the most impactful part of your entry?
The joy of the story came with the discovery of Lu as the lynchpin of a richly textured and multidimensional world. Each person in this story has a unique gift and a singular path through life, yet they are bound together by their shared passion for the art, craft, and mystery of music. Lu’s humbleness as he talked about both the medical and personal parts of his life, affecting people through science and music, is not only endearing but also inspiring.
What is one thing you learned from your entry/experience?
It’s been almost a year since reporting and writing this article, yet I continue to think about, and be influenced by, Lu’s focus, kindness, and self-discipline. It is difficult to imagine the dedication required to excel at both a clinical field as exacting as neurosurgery and a craft as demanding as building a violin.