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Michael Stechison / Doctor Stech and Nervous Habit: Press

"Michael's CD is the perfect soundtrack to an elegant dinner at home. Gorgeous piano playing to compliment the perfect Pinot Noir. It's a must listen. "
Mara Davis - 92.9 DaveFM, Atlanta, GA
Medicine and Music-A Gwinnett doctor harmonizes his career and his love for performing jazz.
Michael Stechison, M.D., Ph.D. , a neurosurgeon from Toronto has 20 years of experience under his belt, the last four of which he has spent at Gwinnett Medical Center. Dr. Stechison attended the Univeristy of Toronto for medical school, and his private practice is Greater Atlanta Neurosurgery P.C. He practices at both Gwinnett Medical Center and Emory Crawford Long Hospital.
In addition to his busy calling as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Stechison is a jazz pianist and vocalist and performs regularly at the Lil' River Grille in downtown Lawrenceville.
Dr. Stechison trained in classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. "To me, harmony in music is analogous to the relationship of color to paining." Dr. Stechison says, "It is the element that captivates me most."
Vigor - Vigor Magazine - Summer 2008 (May 2, 2008)
Notes of a Neurosurgeon. Doctor by day, piano man by night. Michael Stechison makes music when he's not using his hands for medicine.
In Living Section
Doctor of Music - Living a double life: Michael Stechison is a neurosurgeon by profession, but at night he is a piano-playing club performer.
He opened at Lawrenceville's Lil' River Grille with a piano medley from his CD "By Myself, Now and Then" before segueing into a popular Billy Joel tune.
At his show a week or so earlier, he was suffering from laryngitis and couldn't sing a note. But on this night, there's nothing wrong the the vocal cords, and the doctor is hardly alone.
"My name is Michael Stechison," he says, after belting out the final note, "and I will be here all night."
All night, and if his schedule allows, on many weekends as the surgeon brings the fine-fingered dexterity normally reserved for the operating room to the piano bench. But there's no mention of his day job-just intermittent pitches for his CD, available online at www.michaelstechison.com
It's just as well. There probably aren't many here with brain tumors. If there were, Stechison, a neurosurgeon at Gwinnett Medical Center by day, would come highly recommended.
"if you play the night before operating, your dexterity is enhanced," he said. "It's an incredible digital warm up."
The 52 year old, who jokes he's a mere 25 with the numbers inverted, has been warming up - digitally that is- since he was 5 studying classical piano at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
Back then, he said, it seemed every home in the city had a pianbo.
Both his parents were lovers of music. His father, Walter, a dentist, had a band and a live radio show until the 1940s. Not only did he sing, he played the guitar and violin.
The elder Stechison passed his love of music on to his youngest son. Instead of kids' play, Michael spent his day honing his musical talent on the piano, the saxophone, the clarinet. He sang in the boys' choir at St. George's College, a private English boys school.
To this day, musch of Stechison's life revolves around music, specifically the piano.
When he isn't removing tumors from a brain or training for his next marathon, he's somewhere tickling the ivories, sometimes with son Mike on guitar and daughter Caroline on drums, or here at Lil' River Grille, where he's a favorite.
He tries to play every day at home, in his hospital office, wherever there is a keyboard.
For Stechison, it's almost impossible to be without his instrument.
He has two grand pianos at his home in Atlanta, including his childhood instrument in the basement.
He keeps a keyboard in his office, at his beach house and sometimes in the back seat of his car.
The only time he recalls music taking a back seat in his life is when he enrolled in medical school at the University of Toronto.
Besides being focused on his studies, Stechison wasn't playing as well as he would've liked, so he turned to painting and drawing.
He got his medical degree in 1981 and, while completing his residency, got a doctor of philosophy in anatomy, a first in the neurosurgery program.
After stints on the faculty of Ohio State University and the Univeristy of Pittsburgh, Stechison left academia.
In 1995 he entered private practice in South Georgia.
He said he didn't care much for that part of the state. "I'm a city guy."
"Except for brief visits to the beach," said Stechison, who grew up in downtown Toronto, "it's very unhealthy for me to be ouside the city."
And so in 2004, Stechison returned to his urban roots, moving to Atlanta, where he founded Greater Atlanta Neurosurgery.
Now the Brain and Spine Institute at Gwinnett Medical Centger, the practice specializes in surgery.
Stechison practices at both Gwinnett Medical Center and Emory Crawford Long Hospital. And he performs often, about four times a month.
He has played at Turner Field, the Green Market at Piedmont Park and at Lil' River Grille, where he's been playing for nearly a year.
Todd Johnson, who co-owns the restaurant with his brother Bob, tries to book the surgeon at least once a month.
"He's a great guy," said Johnson. "We enjoy having him and the crowd he brings."
Johnson said that customers find Stechison intriguing because it's unusual to see another side of a doctor.
"They love to come watch him play," he said. "He's an extremely talented guy."
The neurosurgeon who founded Greater Atlanta Neurosurgery, Dr. Michael Stechison, also studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in the 1960s and 70s. The doctor's wide range of interests, which includes playing saxophone and clarinet, has paid off in successful dual careers. A recent solo piano disc, By Myself, Now and Then (Caroline's Room/Midtown Atlanta) features his interpretations of a variety of standards. "Someone to Watch over Me" showcases his Canadian classical training and harmonic sophistication. "To me, harmony in music is analogous to the relationship of color to painting," Stechison says. "It is the element that captivates me most."
Editor - Jazziz Magazine, March 2007 (Mar 11, 2007)
"Dr. Michael Stechison performs this selection of great American popular songs with finesse, creativity, and style. His expressive and uniquely individual interpretations provide surprises in each song without compromising the melodic intent of the original composer."
Kevin Bales - Former Professor of Music at University of North Florida; Visiting Artist and Lecturer Georgia State University; 1994 Winner of the American Pianists Association Jazz Piano Competition.