Exploring the Relationship Between Robert Schumann’s Bipolar Disorder and His Creative Musical Genius

Saman Arfaie on August 20, 2021 at 4:00PM EST

Robert Schumann lived a tumultuous inner life mixed with emotional expressiveness in art and music. One of the greatest composers of 19th century romantic music, there is strong evidence that suggests he suffered from bipolar disorder. The focus of this talk was to use primary literature to assess the impact of mental illness on the creative process of a genius on the stature of Robert Schumann and to ponder how his creativity was influenced by the course of his mental illness.  

Saman is a second-year McGill medical student doing research at the Neurosurgical Simulation and Artificial Intelligence Learning Centre. He has trained as a classical pianist from an early age. This presentation won the 2021 Pam and Rolando Del Maestro Family William Osler Medical Student Essay Awards competition exploring the overlap between medicine and music.