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Thursday, Sept. 27, 5:30 p.m.

Like every great composer whom Dr. Richard Kogan analyzes, Leonard Bernstein was an artist whose complex psychology shaped the power and beauty of the music he wrote.

Music critics place the haunting score that accompanied West Side Story’s doomed young lovers alongside works by Prokofiev, Berlioz and Tchaikovsky, who also tackled the musical challenge of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Film critics argue that On the Waterfront, a cinematic masterpiece, is elevated not just by Marlon Brando’s performance, but by the score that interpreted and connected the story’s complex themes of guilt, shame, love and violence.

Leonard Bernstein clearly understood what drove the psyches he translated in his music. But what drove Bernstein?

On Sept. 27, psychiatrist and pianist Richard Kogan, M.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College, will offer his analysis. As in previous years, Kogan’s special session will combine insightful discussion of Bernstein’s life with musical selections from his diverse catalog of material.

What will Dr. Kogan reveal in his analysis? In February, he told Psychiatric News, “Bernstein had a hyperthymic temperament; he was uninhibited and sociable and had an overwhelming amount of exuberance and energy.” In fact, as Psychiatric News noted, “Bernstein was known for his animated conducting style, which on at least one occasion led him to fall off the conductor’s stand.”

In the same interview, Dr. Kogan said Bernstein’s gregarious nature sometimes put him at odds with his artistic ambitions. “Normally, composing is a solitary affair, and that posed a continual challenge during his life. That’s why Bernstein, despite a personal desire to be remembered in the same vein as figures like Mozart, was frequently drawn to the stage and screen. He lived such a complex and fascinating life, and I hope attendees can get some sense of that life through this lecture.”

Dr. Kogan, a classically trained pianist who played in a trio with Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Chang while the three attended Harvard, will play a selection of Bernstein's most famous pieces and examine the intersection between the composer's psychology and creative processes.  

“Music and Medicine: Leonard Bernstein,” presented by Richard Kogan, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, and artistic director, Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program: Thursday, Sept. 27, 5:30 p.m., Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave. Tickets are $25 and include a post-show reception. Call 570-344-1111 or 888-669-8966.


About Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) is a member of the Geisinger family. GCSOM offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Lewistown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a portfolio of graduate degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director, Media and Public Relations 
Office: 570-504-9687
On Call: 570-687-9703
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