Profile: Penny Gordon, baritone saxophonist

For the last three years, Penny Gordon has played the baritone saxophone in the Meon Valley Orchestra. Her husband Lionel, a Royal Navy Surgeon Rear Admiral, bought the instrument for her. When she was younger she played the clarinet in the Teesside County Orchestra. She’s played smaller saxophones but she’s thrilled with this impressive, larger member of the woodwind family.

A vivacious blonde with a ready sense of humour, Penny often gets the tuba parts to play in arrangements of classical works with the MVO. She takes these challenges all in her stride and the baritone makes a significant contribution to the full sound of the orchestra.

Penny Gordon is also a medical professional – a highly qualified doctor. She was headhunted from her consultant radiologist post at Haslar Hospital to head up medical leadership and education in a state-of-the-art set of hospitals in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar. Based in Doha, the capital, she spent two and a half years as the Chief Medical Officer for the whole country.

Like several Arabic Gulf states, Qatar has a vastly different culture from the UK. There are diverse customs, different traditions and rules of behaviour. Some are baffling to Europeans who must tread warily in their professional and social lives. Penny’s book “800 Days in Doha” (ISBN 978-1-911105-32-9) is an amusing, exciting and captivating account of days spent in Qatar.  It is published by Chaplin Books and all royalties are going towards that most worthy of charities, the Order of St John.

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