It didn’t take long for Dr. David Buran to realize his list of patients included a lot of professional singers. The ear, nose and throat doctor, who was a lifelong lover of music, decided he needed to learn more if he was going to treat them effectively.
So he approached his friend and church choirmaster, Philip Brunelle, and asked for the name of a good voice teacher.
“He said, ‘I really should take some voice lessons so I understand their language,’ ” Brunelle said.
Buran was known for decades as the go-to doctor for singers — the one who not only knew how best to fix their ailments, but also loved and understood their work.
He died Oct. 10 at his home in Minneapolis. He was 82.
The son of a congregational minister, Buran grew up around the Midwest and attended Carleton College and the George Washington University School of Medicine. He retired in 1998 from Park Nicollet Clinic in St. Louis Park, where he headed the ENT (ear, nose, throat) department for many years and pioneered ways to improve health care delivery. Even in his retirement, he continued to get calls from former patients.
Dan Dressen, a singer and faculty member at St. Olaf College, said he hasn’t seen another otolaryngologist since Buran’s retirement.
“He could listen to the soul as well as diagnose the physical ailment,” he said.
Buran had a careful, caring way of seeing people — at the clinic or anywhere else — with his chin tilted up and his eyes peering over his bifocals, said Janis Hardy, a singer, teacher and former patient. “He’d say in this incredible way, ‘Now, how ARE you?’ ” she said.
Many of Buran’s closest friends were patients first, and many of his friends became patients.
“It’s just remarkable how many people he was true friends with, because he would come to your performances. Go to your shows, go to your plays, go to your operas,” Hardy said. “He was just always there.”
Buran’s passion for music started early. His mother played piano, and so did he. He sang in high school and college and then at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, where he was a baritone in the choir beginning in the 1960s.
Senior Minister Jim Gertmenian said Buran was an active church member and leader, a source of wisdom in times of trouble.
“He was as generous a spirit as I have known in this world,” he said.
It was just in the past two weeks that Buran became ill, after a sudden cancer diagnosis.
But even after he fell ill, he remained full of life. He saw his friends. He went to a party and danced.
In the week preceding his death, musicians flocked to Buran’s side. For two days their voices filled his home with everything from classical to Broadway, an elegy in the form of the music he loved.
Buran was preceded in death by his daughter Connie and is survived by his wife, Ann, daughter Ginny, brother Dick, and four grandsons.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Plymouth Congregational Church.