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Richard Kogan

Concert Pianist & Psychiatrist
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Biography

Richard Kogan has a distinguished career both as a concert pianist and as a psychiatrist. A graduate of Juilliard and Harvard Medical School, he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Artistic Director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program. He has been praised for his “exquisite playing” by The New York Times and The Boston Globe wrote that “Kogan has somehow managed to excel at the world’s two most demanding professions.”

Dr. Kogan has gained renown for his lecture-recitals that explore the role of music in healing and the influence of psychological forces and psychiatric and medical illness on the creative output of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Scott Joplin. He has given these programs at medical conferences, music festivals, concert series, universities and other venues throughout the world. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and recorded the DVD “Music and the Mind” for Yamaha. Yo-Yo Ma wrote of this DVD “I came away from this extraordinary lecture and performance deeply moved by a fascinating presentation that only Richard Kogan, psychiatrist and concert pianist, can deliver.”

Dr. Kogan’s presentations are extraordinary, one of a kind performances. He tells vivid stories about famous composers who suffered from mental problems - frequent among highly creative people - while illustrating the composer’s work through magnificent playing of their musical masterpieces. From composers such as Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Scott Joplin, Dr. Kogan humanizes medicine as he shares an insight and journey into some of the most creative minds. Dr. Kogan will open your eyes to the symphony that is humanity, music and medicine.

Topics

Music & Medicine: George Gershwin

A child of immigrants in New York City, George Gershwin was a hyperactive, behaviorally challenged youngster whose life was transformed when he heard a classmate’s violin recital. He was a creative phenomenon, a man who was able to extract music out of what others considered to be merely noise, a man who was inspired to write An American in Paris after hearing the sounds of Parisian taxi horns. Dr. Kogan reveals Gershwin’s thought processes during his artistic journey from Rhapsody in Blue to Porgy and Bess until his death at age 38 from a brain tumor and illuminates the presentation with performances of some of Gershwin’s most beloved music.

Beethoven's Deafness: Psychological Crisis & Artistic Triumph

While deafness is a hardship for anyone, for a musician it is catastrophic, and Beethoven was emotionally devastated when he first experienced hearing loss. But as he retreated into the silent world of his imagination, he became a much greater composer, eventually revolutionizing the course of music history. Dr. Kogan explores Beethoven’s extraordinary resilience in response to medical illness and illustrates Beethoven’s artistic transformation though performances of early, middle and late sonatas.

Musical & Creative Genius & Mental Illness

Rachmaninoff & His Psychiatrist

In response to the disastrous world premiere of his Symphony #1, the 24 year old Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff plunged into a deep depression. He developed a severe writer’s block that was eventually cured in a hypnosis treatment by psychiatrist and violist Dr. Nikolai Dahl. In gratitude, Rachmaninoff dedicated his beloved Piano Concerto #2 to Dr. Dahl. Pianist and psychiatrist Richard Kogan is uniquely qualified to recount this fascinating saga and pair it with a bravura performance of the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto.

Tchaikovsky: Music & Melancholy

Schumann: Music, Mood Swings & Madness

Creative artists are especially vulnerable to mental illness, and the German composer Robert Schumann is one of the finest examples of the blurred boundary between genius and insanity. Dr. Kogan explores how the racing thoughts, flight of ideas and sharpened imagination of Schumann’ s hypomanic states induced prodigious bursts of creativity until the onset of psychosis led to his tragic final years in an insane asylum. “Through a unique combination of brilliant psychiatric insights and superb musicianship, my musical colleague Richard Kogan presents a rich multidimensional profile revealing some of the most intimate sources of Schumann’s enormous creativity, imagination and artistry.” - Yo Yo Ma

Ragtime: The Mind & Music of Scott Joplin

Chopin & the Power of Resilience

West Side Story: The Mind & Music of Leonard Bernstein

Mozart: The Mind & Music of a Genius

Composers on the Couch, Psychiatrist at the Keyboard

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