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November 14, 2003 - Image 99

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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manic to depressive stages. The corn-
poser's hallucinations and delusions
— as well as creativity — will enter
into the concert presentation.
"Schumann spent the last couple
of years of years of his life in an
insane asylum, but well before that,
he benefited enormously from his
illness," Kogan explains. "During the
times when he was in his manic
states, the racing thoughts, sharp-
ened imagination and decreased
need for sleep contributed to his
composing prolifically."
Kogan's interest in classical music
reaches back to childhood, while his
fascination with psychiatry devel-
oped in college.
Piano lessons and practice, begun
during preschool years, led to con-
cert engagements starting in elemen-
tary school. A liberal arts program at
Harvard introduced inquiry into the
mystery and complexity of the mind,
and residency work with patients
emphasized the need for treating
sexuality problems.
Support for Kogan's musicianship
also came from friendship. While
attending the Juilliard School, he
became close to now-famous fellow
students — cellist Yo Yo Ma and
violinist Lynn Chang — who
became his Harvard roommates and
concert associates in duos and trio.
"I did a recital with Yo Yo Ma at
Orchestra Hall while I was still a
medical student," Kogan recalls. "I
was very fortunate because the dean
of Harvard Medical School was sup-
portive of my _dual career and per-
mitted me to take time off to travel
and concertize.
"It took me more years to get
through the university, but I wound
up gaining an education and having
the ability to continue with my con-
cert career."
Kogan, married and the father of
three, concedes that balancing music
and medicine often can be precari-
ous. Although he arranges for other
doctors to cover medical emergen-
cies when he travels to perform,
Kogan often talks to troubled
patients by phone immediately
before and after concerts as well as
during intermission.
"The rule rather than the excep-
tion is for people in the audience to
come up to me with psychiatric
questions after concerts," Kogan
says. "They want to talk about prob-
lems they have been having or mem-
bers of their families have been hav-
ing that relate to what I've discussed.
"Depending on the nature of the

problem, I may suggest reading
material or make a referral if I know
some excellent clinician in the area."
Kogan believes his musical talents
allow him to give back to the Jewish
community in which he was raised.
He performs at fundraising benefits,
often in synagogues, and has
appeared for large organizations such
as Hadassah.
"Since I've been a psychiatrist, I've
treated lots of patients who have
had the kind of illness that
Schumann had, and I believe that
makes me understand the music
much more," says Kogan, who has
studied the letters and diary of the
19th-century musical icon he will
salute in Detroit.
"I think most musicians are famil-
iar with stories about Schumann,
but I now have more of a sense of
the particular drama of the manic-
depressive and what Schumann was
trying to communicate about that.
"Schumann believed that the only
reason for becoming a composer is
to actually express what's on the
composer's mind, and as a per-
former, I always try to catch the
inner state of mind of the composer,
no matter whose work I'm playing."
Kogan, on the brink of doing a
DVD series on various composers
and their battles with emotional dis-
tress, asserts that a disproportionate
number of composers had psychi-
atric conditions that simultaneously
plagued and inspired them.
"I think the main reason I'm able
to balance both careers is that I'm
highly motivated," says Kogan, the
son of a music teacher and doctor. "I
feel passionately about making music
and being a clinician.
"I did standard piano recitals for
many years, but by combining the
music with psychological issues, I
feel like I'm integrating my careers. I
practice the piano every day, but I
don't have a set schedule because of
all the other things that come into
play. I'm constantly running into
issues of time apportionment." ❑

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75

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