Friday, May 22, 2020

Kogan’s 2020 Menninger Lecture on Tchaikovsky Now Available Online

This year’s APA Annual Meeting would have featured a special presentation by psychiatrist and award-winning pianist Richard Kogan, M.D., for the William C. Menninger Memorial Convocation Lecture. Though the meeting could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kogan made a video of his presentation, “The Mind and Music of Tchaikovsky.”

Kogan is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, artistic director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, and co-director of the Weill Cornell Human Sexuality Program. He studied piano at the Juilliard School and earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at Harvard.

The 30-minute video is a condensed version of Kogan’s typical crowd-favorite lectures, which combine discussion about the link between musical artistry and mental illness with piano performances by Kogan offering listeners a sense of the composer’s state of mind at the time.

“Tchaikovsky’s music is the indelible outgrowth of his mental state,” Kogan told Psychiatric News. “His glorious ballets, for example, reflect an idealized fantasy world where he could escape his real-world despondency.”

In his video, Kogan explores Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s despondency as well as his shame over his sexual orientation, and how these feelings led to the creation of some of history’s greatest pieces—from the melodic (and oft-parodied) love theme from Romeo and Juliet to the structurally groundbreaking opening of his first concerto.

“Music has the extraordinary power to lift spirits and soothe anxiety,” Kogan said, noting that Tchaikovsky himself used musical composition as a tool for self-healing (Tchaikovsky once wrote that, “without music, I would go insane.”). Kogan hoped his video might likewise provide some solace from the stresses of COVID-19 that his fellow psychiatrists and others are facing.

For more online content derived from APA’s 2020 Annual Meeting, watch the free virtual APA Spring Highlights Meeting or purchase APA On Demand 2020. Both offer CME credit.

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