Created by the Royal Philharmonic in 2014, Strokestra harnesses the power of creative group music making to drive patient-led recovery in stroke survivors and their careers. Duncan Wood / RPO

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 16, 2024 — Recovering stroke patients from the UCI Health SeniorHealth Center will participate in a dynamic, music-focused rehabilitation workshop called Strokestra, which will be led by professional musicians from the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and University of California, Irvine clinicians, on Friday, Jan. 19, during RPO’s one-week residency with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

Created by the Royal Philharmonic in 2014, Strokestra harnesses the power of creative group music making to drive patient-led recovery in stroke survivors and their careers.

Music students and faculty from UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts will be mentored by the Royal Philharmonic performers to learn the innovative, music-based interventions of Strokestra. The collaboration will culminate in a workshop with UCI Health patients and their caregivers. Participating patients will play instruments, improvise and create music alongside the Royal Philharmonic’s world-class musicians and UCI music students to support health and healing.

“We’re thrilled to implement this program,” said Dr. Lisa Gibbs, director of the SeniorHealth Center and chief of UCI Health’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. “I have an undergraduate degree in music performance and have always sought to explore the impacts of music on health, particularly on brain health and aging. Our launch of Strokestra at UCI coincides with the National Institutes of Health’s newly announced Music-Based Intervention Toolkit, aiming to build upon research in this area. The Division of Geriatric Medicine is excited to be collaborating with UCI’s School of the Arts, and we look forward to advancing partnerships across campus.”

Strokestra’s specially designed creative music workshop meets a wide range of stroke rehabilitation needs, including improved sensation, mobility, strength, flexibility, cognitive function, socialization, communication and well-being. UCI’s Division of Geriatric Medicine hopes to continue this collaboration and expand research into the benefits of music-based interventions for health and aging.

“In the initial planning for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra residency, we discussed many ways to truly engage our local public during its time here, ranging from school visits, local music teacher seminars and youth concerts to the replication of the RPO’s groundbreaking Strokestra program,” said Tommy Phillips, president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

“As we developed ideas on how to best engage our public, the Strokestra program stood out with its focus on creative music making as a method for healing and recovery. We are fortunate to have such wonderful partners in UCI’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology and at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and we are excited that our collective goal of promoting health and well-being for older adults and young adults is becoming a reality this month.”

As part of its partnership with the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County has invited seven UCI music students to join the Royal Philharmonic in the Strokestra workshop: Isabella Cao, Ellie Chae, Jonathan Gerrard, Zhengyu Huang, Kathryn Lau, Allison Liu and Lisa Yoshida. They will undergo training sessions with RPO musicians and work alongside patients and their caregivers.

Workshop clinicians from UCI Health, the School of Medicine and the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing include Gibbs, Sonia Sehgal, Julie Rousseau, Jung-Ah Lee, Mike Bueno, Sarah Campbell, Tiffany Nielsen and Candice Whealon.

“Participating in the Strokestra rehabilitation program is an extraordinary opportunity for our students to explore the role of music in advancing wellness while learning from premier professional musicians and clinicians,” said Tiffany Ana López, dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. “It allows them to explore their interests in music and medicine in a very impactful way. Some are coming into this type of work for the first time, while others are expanding on previous experiences, and all are incredibly excited about this project and everything they will share forward.”

The Strokestra workshop will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Jan. 19, in theGrunigen Medical Library, UCI Medical Center, 101 The City Drive South in Orange. It is not open to the public, but members of the media are invited to attend.

Two public overview sessions will be held – one with a music focus from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Winifred Smith Hall at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and one with a clinical focus from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing auditorium, both on the UCI campus. The Wednesday Strokestra overview session will include a discussion and short demonstration walking participants through the process, results, successes, setbacks and future of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Strokestra program, as well as an ongoing partnership with UCI.

To learn more about Strokestra, go to

Media: For more information or to RSVP, contact Tom Vasich at or 949-285-6455 or the Philharmonic Society of Orange County at or 949-553-2422, ext. 237.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

Philharmonic Society of Orange County: Founded in 1954 as Orange County’s first music organization, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County presents national and international performances of the highest quality and provides dynamic and innovative music education programs for individuals of all ages to enhance the lives of Orange County audiences through music. For more information, visit