Concert Pianist & Psychiatrist
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.” Read More >
Richard Kogan: TedMed - Can Music Heal What Meds Can't?
Rachmaninoff and His Psychiatrist
"America" from the West Side Story
Tchaikovsky: Music, Madness, and medicine
Chopin and Resilience
The Trauma and Beauty of Beethoven's Deafness
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.
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.
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.
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