Marin Alsop Hosts Off the Cuff Concert, Schumann's Beautiful Mind, May 13-14
Pianist and Schumann scholar Dr. Richard Kogan joins Alsop to discuss Schumann's genius and mental illness
Baltimore, Md. (April 6, 2011) - Music Director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in an Off the Cuff series presentation, Schumann's Beautiful Mind, on Friday, May 13 at 8:15 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Renowned Schumann scholar Dr. Richard Kogan will join Maestra Alsop to explore Schumann's beautiful mind-one tormented by his bi-polar disorder, and yet still able to continue his work. Dr. Kogan will perform and discuss selections from Schumann's beloved piano work Carnaval. Also on the program are selections from Schumann's Second Symphony. The BSO's Off the Cuff series offers a fresh take on classical music by exploring the lives of the composers, making the performances entertaining and engaging for music enthusiasts of any level. Please see below for complete program details.
Robert Schumann-among the Romantic era's most ingenious and prolific composers-spent the last years of his life in an asylum, where he eventually starved himself to death. Such a tragic end to a dazzling genius warrants a closer look into the madness and depression that plagued him. Host and conductor Marin Alsop, aided by Schumann scholar and pianist Dr. Richard Kogan, will examine the manic and creative episodes responsible for Schumann's bursts of feverish composing.
Among the works performed by the BSO will be Schumann's Second Symphony, composed in his darkest days after his worst mental breakdown limited his creative capacity as a composer. After recovering from his mental illness temporarily, he went into one of his most manic creative periods, composing his piano concerto in A minor and his Second Symphony during that time. It is remarkable that in the face of adversity, Schumann was able to complete this work successfully. The symphony is a psychological journey from dark to light, reflecting Schumann's struggle with his mental illness to recovery, from the slow and somber opening to the fanfare and triumphant finale expressing his recovery.
Also under the microscope will be selections from Schumann's Carnaval, performed and discussed by Dr. Richard Kogan. Devastated from a serious hand injury that ended his career as a concert pianist, Robert Schumann veered into the world of composition. His early works were mostly piano pieces and art songs for solo voice and piano; one of his most successful early works was a collection of miniature piano pieces he later named Carnaval, in reference to the festival that occurs before lent. The work uses a recurring motif throughout that represents himself (by spelling his name with musical notes), his friends, colleagues and fictional characters. Carnaval has become one of Schumann's most famous and frequently performed piano pieces as it displays a high level of technical virtuosity and complex musical structure.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world's leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of
Contemporary Music in California.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her "Conductor of the Year." In November 2010, she was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. In February 2011, Marin Alsop was named the music director of the Orquestra Sinfonica do estado de Sao Paulo (OSESP), or the Sao Paulo State Symphony
Orchestra, effective for the 2012-13 season. Ms. Alsop was named to Guardian's Top 100 Women list in March 2011.
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvořák.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
Richard Kogan, speaker and piano
Dr. Richard Kogan has a distinguished career both as a concert pianist and as a psychiatrist. The New York Times praised him for his "eloquent, compelling, and exquisite playing" and the Boston Globe wrote, "Kogan has somehow managed to excel at the world's two most demanding professions."
Dr. Kogan is renowned for his lecture/recitals that explore the role of music in healing and the influence of psychiatric and medical illnesses on the creative output of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. He has given these presentations at music festivals, concert series, medical conferences, and scholarly symposia throughout the world. He performed Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and delivered an address entitled "The Power of Music in Healing Mind and Body" at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Dr. Kogan has recorded, Music and the Mind: The Life and Works of Robert Schumann for Touchstar Productions. In a review of this DVD, Yo Yo Ma wrote: "I came away from this extraordinary lecture and performance deeply moved by a fascinating presentation that only Dr. Kogan, psychiatrist and concert pianist, can
deliver...Through a unique combination of brilliant psychiatric insights and superb musicianship, my musical colleague, Richard Kogan, presents a rich multidimensional profile revealing some of the most intimate sources of Robert Schumann.s enormous creativity, imagination and artistry." Dr. Kogan has won numerous honors including the Concert Artists Guild Award and first prize in the Chopin Competition of the Kosciuszko Foundation.
Dr. Kogan is a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music Pre-llege, Harvard College, and arvard Medical School. He completed a psychiatry residency and academic fellowship at NYU. e has a private practice of psychiatry in New York City and is affiliated with Weill Cornell edical College as Co-Drector of its Human Sexuality Program. He is also Co-Cairman of the recently established Weill Cornell Music/Medicine Initiative.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
BSO Off the Cuff Concert: Schumann's Beautiful Mind
Friday, May 13, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.—Music Center at Strathmore
Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 7 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Marin Alsop, conductor
Richard Kogan, speaker and piano
Tickets range from $28 to $88. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.