Links between Mood Disorders, Art, and Music Examined in Johns Hopkins Psychiatry, Peabody Institute Collaboration « The Peabody Post

December 8 Symposium and Concert celebrate the work of poet Robert Lowell.

November 10, 2017, Baltimore, MD: The creative genius of Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Robert Lowell is at the center of a Johns Hopkins event exploring the links between mood disorders, art, and music on Friday, December 8, at the Peabody Institute. Beginning at 6:00 pm, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison – Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders and author of the Lowell biography Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character – will lead a Symposium about depression, bipolar disorder, and creativity. The concert which follows at 8:00 pm will feature the work of Peabody Composition Department Chair Michael Hersch, acclaimed as “a natural musical genius who continues to surpass himself,” including pieces of his Carrion-Miles to Purgatory: 13 pieces after poetry of Robert Lowell, described by The Washington Post as “a spare, intense, fiercely inward-turning work.”

Jamison, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center and co-author of the standard textbook on bipolar illness, and of the best-selling memoir An Unquiet Mind, is one of this country’s most famous writers about bipolar illness. Her Setting the River on Fire was hailed by The Washington Post as “an exhilarating experience, impassioned, beautifully written, and which achieves a magnificence.” On December 8 in the George Peabody Library, she leads a Symposium which will be moderated by Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr., former chairman of the Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center, and chairperson of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC). Featured speakers include current chairman, Dr. James “Jimmy” Potash; Dr. Karen Swartz, the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center Director of Clinical Care and Education; and Dr. Jamison.

The concert program will interweave Carrion-Miles to Purgatory with another of Hersch’s works, Images From a Closed Ward, a work described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as a “journey (which) left you in a figurative blindfold taken off momentarily to glimpse another previously unimaginable terrain.” Gramophone Magazine wrote that “Hersch’s grim graphic quartet responding to Michael Mazur’s etchings and lithographs of inmates in a Rhode Island psychiatric hospital during the early 1960s lives a separate though…

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