— The percentage of people working as artists who suffer with mental illness is generally much higher than people working in other fields, says renowned Psychiatrist and Concert Pianist Dr. Richard Kogan, who on Saturday, Feb. 6 will be at EJ Thomas Hall in Akron to speak about mental health and artistry and to perform Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2.
Kogan has combined the study of his two passions, the mind and music, and through his study has developed programs that pair lectures about great composers, and the effect mental illness and treatment for mental illness have had on their ability to produce and perform great music. He says that as a psychiatrist, he works with patients who are dealing with issues that might be blocking their creativity.
While he is in town, Kogan will also lecture at Summa Hospital about the topic.
The Akron Symphony’s Music Director and Conductor Christopher Wilkins asked Dr. Kogan to bring his work to Akron. The two attended college together at Harvard University, where Kogan received bachelor’s degrees in music and pre-med.
Kogan is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical Center and the artistic director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program. He also has a private psychiatry practice in New York City.
He says the goal is to help people with mental illness make sense of their suffering and to restore them so they can create.
Kogan offers Rachmaninoff, the composer of the concerto he will be playing, as an example of an artist struggling with depression who benefited from working with a psychiatrist. Rachmaninoff, after failing with his first concerto, suffered crippling depression for several years. He worked with psychiatrist Nikolai Dahl, receiving hypnosis and psychotherapy. The composer’s creativity was restored and he produced Piano Concerto No. 2, his most popular composition. He dedicated it to Dahl.
Kogan also believes that music itself is a great healing tool that can supplement traditional medicine. He encourages patients to both listen to and play music as a healing technique.
When asked about what he hopes people will take away from his program, Kogan says, “I hope I can provide a window into the creative process.”
To purchase tickets to “Music and the Mind,” go to akronsymphony.org/concerts/music-and-the-mind.674.