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James Rhodes and Bipolar Disorder

Did you know that the pianist James Rhodes has bipolar disorder? I wreote the following after seeing one of his docos.

James Rhodes(1975- ) filmed a seven episode series called James Rhodes: Piano Man1  which aired on Sky Arts 2 in December 2010 and again in March 2011.  I saw my first episode of this series today on a cold afternoon at the start of winter in Tasmania.1  In Piano Man, James plays the music of his favourite classical composers, including Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, many of whom have had, like James, troubled lives.

In this highly personal collection, James explains how both the music and the lives of these composers have given him solace in his darkest moments, and why we should all be listening in our own darkest moments.  Of course, we all turn to different forms of music as well as other activities to get us through the tough times, the tough hours.

I took an interest in Rhodes not only due to my love of classical music and my love for the same composers as Rhodes, but also due to Rhodes’ 9 month stint in mental hospitals.  “There is no question in my mind that in conjunction with other therapies, art or music can be a tremendous tool in dealing with various forms of mental illness,” said Rhodes,  “but I wonder whether throwing oneself into creativity in order to help defeat the demons is a solution or a hindrance.”2

By the time I heard James Rhodes I was 67, was stabilized on the latest of a series of medications for my bipolar disorder, had retired from the demands of employment as a teacher and extensive responsibilities in the Baha’i community which I had been associated with for nearly 60 years. -Ron Price with thanks to 1SBSTV, 9 June 2012, 3:55-4:30 p.m., and 2 James Rhodes, The Telegraph Online, 3 October  2011.

I’d never heard of you until today,
James. You’ve had your battles as
I have had with bipolar disorder!!

I won’t list all the others I’ve come
across who have had to deal with a
mental illness of some sort….I take
a mild interest in the subject as I go
through these middle years, 65--75,
of my late adulthood, 60--80, and as
I head for old age, 80+,  if I last that
long in this the evening of my life!!*?

Ron Price
9 June 2012  
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