Listening to the deft integration of jazz rhythms and classical music in Rhapsody in Blue or the often-wrenching songs of Porgy and Bess, it’s jarring to think of their composer as a troubled youth, a juvenile delinquent, petty thief and high school dropout who, in a latter era, might have been prescribed a hefty dose of Ritalin or Adderall. But George Gershwin was saved by a school violin recital he’d tried to avoid attending – and it opened a door that allowed him to escape the predictable ignominy of a bad boy on the streets of Brooklyn. He was, then, a person reached – and made better – by music.
Dr. Richard Kogan joins us to discuss the life, psyche and music of one of America’s greatest composers during an evening that integrates masterful piano playing, humor and insight into the close links between music, healing and genius. Trained in piano at Juilliard and in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kogan is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Co-Director of the Human Sexuality Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Artistic Director of the Music and Medicine program. He also maintains a private practice in New York City.