Performance explores Beethoven’s mental, physical struggles

On Nov. 9, the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at CU Anschutz welcomed Richard Kogan, MD, to discuss Beethoven’s deafness through musical performance and historical lecture.

Kogan was trained in the piano at The Juilliard School, and received his MD at Harvard Medical School. He uses his exceptional skillset to combine healing, medicine and the arts.

In three iterations, he alternated between masterfully performing pieces composed by Beethoven, and speaking about the deterioration of Beethoven’s mental health due to hearing loss.

Medical students visit with Dr. Richard Kogan at CU Anschutz
Second-year medical students Josten Overall and Priya Krishnan chat with Richard Kogan, MD, during his visit to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

“The performance was amazing,” said Danielle Sansone-Poe, student in the Graduate School. “I brought my whole family to this performance. The passion and diversity of pieces was captured beautifully by Dr. Kogan. The transitions between playfulness and rage were especially captivating.”

Kogan previously presented and performed Gershwin at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in spring 2013, and he has promised to return in September 2019.

“During his last visit, Dr. Kogan inspired us to create a Music and Medicine Initiative,” said Therese Jones, PhD, associate director for the Center of Bioethics and Humanities.  “He oversees the Music and Medicine program at Cornell, and we wanted something similar on in the CU system.”

This initiative hopes to assist patients with healing though music, offer musical performances to the community, and educate the community about the benefits of music in healthcare. It includes the CU Anschutz Campus Choir and CU Anschutz Campus Orchestra. There is also a new partnership with the College Music at CU Boulder.

“Music has an extraordinary capacity to reduce pain, to soothe anxiety, and to lift spirits,” said Kogan. “In order provide the best care, we shouldn’t overlook these unique capabilities. The humanities deserve to have a role in the medical community.”

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