Doctor-musician illustrates how mental illness influences creativity in Tchaikovsky presentation

WHAT: Richard Kogan, M.D., a psychiatrist and concert pianist who has gained renown for lecture-recitals that explore how mental illness influenced the art of great composers, presents “Music & Mood Disorders: Tchaikovsky” at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the 19th century Russian composer whose works include Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, grappled with depression and once asserted, “Without music, I would go insane.” Yet, even as music brought relief from the darkness, it was the darkness itself that infused his music with the emotion it is still known for today.

The event is part of the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the UT Health Science Center. The lecture series is supported by an endowment from the Ewing Halsell Foundation.

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will be preceded by a 5 p.m. reception.

WHERE: Health Science Center auditorium, located at the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Campus, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive in the South Texas Medical Center.

WHO: Both music and medicine come naturally to Dr. Kogan. His mother, a one-time music teacher, recognized his musical talent and started him on piano lessons at age 4. His father, a gastroenterologist, took him on medical rounds.

The younger Kogan graduated from the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College in 1973 with concentrations in piano and cello, and then double-majored in music and pre-medicine at Harvard College, where his classmates included cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Lynn Chang. He went on to Harvard Medical School, where the dean created a special five-year schedule for him that included time off for concerts between rotations.

A decade ago, Dr. Kogan was asked to give a symposium on musical creativity and mental illness to the American Psychiatric Association. As he studied the lives of composers including Schumann, Beethoven and Mozart, he saw recognizable symptoms of mental illnesses, as well as the influence these disorders had on the composers’ art. He has since performed in lecture-recitals worldwide, including at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Dr. Kogan currently has a private practice of psychiatry in New York City and is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College as co-director of its Human Sexuality Program. He also co-chairs the newly established Weill Cornell Music/Medicine Initiative.

NOTES: The presentation is free and open to the public. For details, visit
Dr. Kogan is available for media interviews ahead of the event. To schedule an interview, call (210) 567-3026.


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