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Jonathan Biss, Piano
Adam Haslett, Writer

Anxiety, Depression, and Music
Please Note: Issues of suicide and depression will be discussed.

Princeton University Concerts Debut


Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 7:30 PM EDT


Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall


General: $25 | Student: $10 | Princeton University Student: Free through Passport to the Arts.

When you make music, or any kind of art, your whole self is revealed. I feel like the part of me that is anxious is inextricably linked to all the other parts of myself, which probably are essential to my being a musician.”

—Jonathan Biss

Concert Classics Plus Series

About the Event

Please note: issues of suicide and depression will be discussed.

Following his appearance on our Concert Classics series with Mitsuko Uchida, PUC-fan-favorite pianist Jonathan Biss comes to our Healing with Music series alongside Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Adam Haslett for an intimate reflection on anxiety, depression, and music. In addition to conversation and Q&A, the event will include live performance of piano works by Schubert and Schumann as well as excerpts from the author’s latest novel, Imagine Me Gone.

In 2021, shortly upon the culmination of a decade-long project recording all of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, Jonathan Biss took the rare step of publicly confronting a subject often considered taboo within the performing arts. He described his struggles with crippling anxiety and the severe effects that a solitary performing career had on his mental health in his instantly popular memoir Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven, produced for Audible’s Words + Music series. Having been celebrated as “one of today’s foremost Beethoven exponents” (The Chicago Tribune) ever since making his New York Philharmonic debut playing the composer under the baton of Kurt Masur when he was just 21-years-old, the pianist gave voice to the ways in which Beethoven—and music, in general—helped him heal from his anxiety as much as he had contributed to it.

Adam Haslett’s prolific career includes three critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling works of fiction, in addition to his journalism on culture and politics for The Financial Times, Esquire, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, The Nation, and The Atlantic, among others. His second novel, Imagine Me Gone, was a finalist for the National Book Award, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named one of the 20 best novels of the decade by Literary Hub. It was also finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, whose judges described it as “the quiet and compassionate saga of a family whose world is shaped by mental illness and the challenges and joys of caring for each other.” Drawing on his father’s suicide, Imagine Me Gone is the most personal book he has written—in his words, an attempt to “put the reader as far into the mind of someone with anxiety and depression as I can, and let them take from that what they will.”


Jonathan Biss and Adam Haslett want to hear from you! Please submit your questions related to the topic of healing with music/the arts using the form below. Select questions will be posed to Jonathan and Adam anonymously live at the event:

Name (Optional)
Please note that priority will be assigned to questions related to the topic of mental healing with music/the arts.


Humans have been using sounds as a way to exist and endure since the start of time. This series of events combining conversation permeated by live performance highlights stories of resilience in facing illness and personal upheaval that shed light on music’s profound impact. You can share your own story of music’s restorative role in your life here.

Read More About Event


  • A Conversation Permeated by Live Performance

    centered on anxiety, depression, and music. In addition to conversation and Q&A, the event will include live performance of works by Schubert and Schumann by pianist Jonathan Biss as well as excerpts from author Adam Haslett’s latest novel, Imagine Me Gone.

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