Author: Julia Adolphe

Joy Guidry: Transforming Trauma through the Creative Process

Joy Guidry

Composer/Bassoonist Joy Guidry shares how they protect their own mental health while exploring personally traumatic content in their art. We discuss their critically acclaimed debut album, Radical Acceptance (2022), which traces Joy’s personal experiences of Bipolar Disorder and PTSD. Joy differentiates between the harmful nature of forcing oneself to relive a traumatic personal memory in order to create art, and the act of reclaiming and transforming one’s experience through communal storytelling. Lastly, Joy shares what they wish others knew about Bipolar Disorder and how musical institutions can be more ADA compliant and accessible.

Frank Ticheli: Overcoming Anxiety & Trusting the Subconscious

Frank Ticheli conducting

Composer Frank Ticheli shares his experience with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which manifested in his 30’s in the form of chronic pain and impeded his ability to compose. We discuss how Frank reframed his relationship to his writing process in order to reconnect with his work, difficulties with medication and therapy, and how cultivating a dialogue with one’s subconscious enriches creativity. Lastly, we discuss Frank’s An American Elegy, commissioned by the Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi in memory of the victims of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, and the role that educators can play in caring for and monitoring their students’ mental health during increasingly anxious times.

Sasha Cooke: Managing Imposter Syndrome & the Benefits of Couples Therapy

Sasha Cooke

Two-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke shares her experience of imposter syndrome, a feeling that one is not worthy or deserving of one’s success. We discuss how these inner bullying voices originated in relation to her body image and how music became a safe, empowering space. Lastly, Sasha shares how couples therapy and practicing gratitude enable her to take ownership and responsibility for her personal and musical life, and how she stays connected to her kids when she’s on tour.

Myroslava Khomik: Creativity as Spiritual Work in Times of War

A silhouette of a violin on a Ukrainian flag

Ukrainian-born violinist Dr. Myroslava Khomik shares how anyone with creativity and compassion can work as a spiritual leader during times of global crisis. We discuss the centuries-long history of Russian aggressors targeting and executing Ukrainian artists while appropriating Ukrainian culture, why promoting Ukrainian music is a revolutionary act, and how we can each use our own unique individual voices to contribute to the health of our society.

Creatives Care: How Therapy Enables Creativity & Finding Affordable Care

A photo of the staff members of Creatives Care shown reflected in the window of a high rise building foregrounding the Manhattan skyline.

Psychiatrist Alana Mendelsohn, MD, PhD, Catherine Hancock, and Katya Gruzgliina share the mission of Creatives Care, which aims to partner artists with affordable mental health care providers and help individuals assess what kind of therapy might be right for their specific needs. Our conversation covers why therapy is particularly beneficial for artists, how to understand when you might need help, and how to handle obstacles that keep us from seeking support. Catherine and Katya share their own personal experiences with vocal injury and its relationship to their work destigmatizing mental and physical illness within the arts. Lastly, we discuss questions collected from our podcast listeners, which range from how to handle career disappointment, leaving the arts, to how to process the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine.

Andrew Norman: Anxiety & Creative Process

Andrew Norman sitting by his piano with pages of scores scattered on the floor.

Composer Andrew Norman shares how his creative anxiety has led him into a current period of writer’s block. We discuss how his frenetic language captures how thoughts move in his mind, the underlying sources of his anxiety, and brainstorm together how he can move forward to reconnect with the joy of his creative process.

Ryan McAdams: How Myths of Artistic Leadership Fuel Destructive Behaviors

Ryan McAdams conducting an orchestra

Conductor Ryan McAdams shares how the myth of the “ideal” conductor, perpetuated at conservatory and within Western culture, glorifies destructive lifestyles such as living in isolation, excessive behaviors, constant striving for perfection, appearing omniscient, and hiding all human vulnerabilities. In order to manage these impossible professional standards, Ryan believes many conductors turn towards self-destructive behaviors, and Ryan shares some of his own personal struggles. Lastly, Ryan suggests how young conductors could be nurtured and prepared for the challenges of the profession, instead of being told they are not cut out for the job if they cannot cope with stress.

Maia Jasper White: How Crisis Changes Artistry

Maia Jasper White playing violin and Kevin Kumar dancing

Violinist Maia Jasper White shares how her relationship to music-making changed as she cared for her young daughter, who underwent surgery for craniosynostosis and a subsequent period of PTSD. We discuss how Maia temporarily stepped away from creative work and how the personal crisis changed her understanding of her own artistic expression. As co-founder of The Salistina Music Society, Maia shares her experience performing for hospital patients during Covid through Project Music Us.