October 31, 2017

The CU Arts and Humanities Program at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities 2017 Henry Claman Visiting Professor in Medical Humanities will be the distinguished psychiatrist, lecturer and musician Richard Kogan, MD.  Dr. Kogan will visit  the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to discuss the tempestuous life of legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven and perform a free concert on Thursday, Nov. 9.

“Beethoven was a man of vile moods, violent rages and eccentric behavior,” explains Kogan.  “He’s the quintessential example of the mad genius, the tortured artist, but I prefer to look at him as the ultimate example of resilience and the ability to transcend limitations.”

Kogan, a psychiatrist who received his MD from Harvard Medical School and trained in piano performance at Julliard, has combined his love of music and medicine into a lecture concert series on influential composers who may have exhibited signs of mental illness.

Beethoven began to notice symptoms of hearing loss in his late 20s around the turn of the 19th century. Two decades later, Beethoven, almost totally deaf, composed his greatest works. These include the last five piano sonatas, the Missa solemnis, the Ninth Symphony, and the last five string quartets.

“Deafness, a hardship for anyone, is a catastrophe for a musician,” states Kogan, explaining his admiration for the composer. “Locked in the silent world of his imagination, Beethoven created a musical language that was different from anything that had previously existed.”

Tess Jones, PhD, Associate Director of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities and Faculty Sponsor of the Music & Medicine Initiative, is thrilled to have Richard Kogan at CU Anschutz.  “His combination of storytelling and performance will inspire the audience and make them connect with Beethoven’s music in a new way,” says Jones. “Given the late Dr. Henry Claman’s love of music as well as his lifelong commitment to both medicine and art, Dr. Kogan is a perfect fit for the visiting professorship named to honor Dr. Claman.”

The concert is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $20 to benefit the Music and Medicine Initiative.  This will be Kogan’s second performance at CU Anschutz, following a Fall 2013 lecture concert featuring the works and life of George Gershwin.

Kogan has led a distinguished career as both a professional pianist and as a physician. He is currently a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Artistic Director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program.

The Kogan lecture and concert is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 9, at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Education 2-South, auditorium 1102.

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