Master concert pianist and psychiatrist Richard Kogan, M.D., performed
Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" at this year's World Economic Forum,
held in Davos, Switzerland, January 28 to February 1.
Photo courtesy of Richard Kogan
Kogan, who has for a number of years brought his talents to APA's annual
meeting, also delivered an address titled "The Power of Music in Healing
Mind and Body." And he participated in the panel discussions"
Recession, Depression, and the Road to Recovery" and"
Political Art: What
The latter was a discussion of how art has shaped political agendas and
promoted global causes.
"I was invited as a psychiatrist and as a musician to talk about the
healing impact of music and its unparalleled capacity to soothe anxiety,
reduce pain, and lift spirits," Kogan told Psychiatric News."
This was at a time when a fair amount of the meeting was by most
accounts more somber than it has been in the past 30 years because of the
global economic crisis."
Kogan is codirector of the Human Sexuality Program at Weill Cornell Medical
College and cochair of the Weill Cornell Music-Medicine Initiative.
Also speaking at the session on "Recession, Depression, and the Road
to Recovery" was Thomas Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute
of Mental Health. Insel presented data suggesting an association between
economic downturns and the incidence of depression and anxiety.
Kogan emphasized in his remarks that music, at its most powerful, is a
communal experience. "Much music today is consumed in an isolated way,
but music is most healing when it is experienced in a communal manner, when
people are listening or singing in groups."
He also spoke about the relationship between music and resiliency, citing
the example of Ludwig van Beethoven. His adult-onset deafness was the source
of a profound trauma for the composer, but he went on to compose his greatest
George Gershwin experienced behavioral problems as a child stemming from
what today would likely be diagnosed as attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder, Kogan said. "But he discovered music early on and was
completely transformed by it," he said.
The World Economic Forum is an independent, international organization
incorporated as a Swiss not-for-profit foundation. The annual forum brings
together world leaders in diverse fields to discuss global economic
development. The theme of this year's forum was "Shaping the Post-Crisis