The dark side of creative genius isn’t often discussed. But that’s just what Dr. Richard Kogan, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, will do in concert Feb. 6 at E.J. Thomas Hall at the University of Akron.
Kogan, who is also a concert pianist, will speak about Music and the Mind as well as perform with the Akron Symphony Orchestra in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. His talk will focus on the influence that depression had on the life and work of troubled composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, who dedicated the concerto to his hypnotherapist.
Dr. Kogan is clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. Other composers he speaks about regarding mental illness range from Beethoven to Gershwin.
After seeing Dr. Kogan’s presentation on composer Robert Schumann, cellist 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.”
In Akron, the 8 p.m. concert also will feature Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, which tells the story of an artist’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman and was inspired by Berlioz’s own demons regarding his obsession with Irish actress Harriet Smithson, whom he later married.
During his visit, Dr. Kogan also will present lecture-demonstrations at NEOMED and Summa Health that are aimed toward medical community. His appearance launches the new program “Music and Mental Health,” in which Akron Symphony Orchestra musicians will perform weekly in inpatient behavioral health settings at Summa Health. The program, supported by a grant from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, aims to raise awareness about both the role emotional suffering has in creative musical expression and the therapeutic power of music in treating mental health disorders.
Tickets to the Feb. 6 concert cost $25-$55. Call 330-535-8131 or see www.akronsymphony.org.
• Theater company Wandering Aesthetics promises its bloodiest, sexiest storytelling yet with Tails from the Witch’s Cauldron Friday through Feb. 6 at 15 Broad St., Akron. The word “tails” in the title is correct: Cats play a large part in two of the three stories.
Madcap tales of magic, hags and mystery will feature actress Nici Romo of Stow and co-founder Kyle Jozsa of Akron. Cost is $15. Call 330-990-5138 or see www.watheatre.com/boxoffice.
• Magical Theatre Company also will explore the dark side of storytelling by remounting the slightly revised Quoth the Raven, a play based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe that was written by company member Adam Hoffman and toured for three seasons. The show will run 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The retelling of The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, Annabel Lee and The Raven will be performed by Hoffman, Amanda Kidd, Deb Lemire and Mark Ross. The show is recommended for age 12 or older. Cost is $12-$16. See www.magicaltheatre.org or call 330-848-3708.
Verb opens doors
Verb Ballets of Shaker Heights, which made its New York debut Jan. 16-17 at the Martha Graham Studio Theatre, is back home and hosting a “Ballet Up-Close” studio viewing at 7 p.m. Friday at 3445 Warrensville Center Road. The evening will include pieces that just toured to New York, including Lamentation Variation, variations based on Graham’s iconic solo masterpiece. Excerpts from works by Heinz Poll also will be performed in anticipation of the company’s upcoming Tribute to Heinz Poll at the Akron Civic Theatre Feb. 19. (See more in coming weeks in this column about this dance tribute to late Ohio Ballet founder Poll.) Cost for Friday’s studio event is $15 for adults, $10 for children. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. See www.verbballets.org/january.html.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj or follow her on Twitter @KerryClawsonABJ.