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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Christian Ferras and His Struggle with Depression
by Kim, Jaclyn, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 24; 10840357
Abstract (Summary)

Musicians often feel the extremes of highs and lows based on the nature of their work. In order to effectively communicate with an audience, the performer needs to express his or her musical ideas. This form of expression leaves the performer vulnerable, since the audience may either enjoy or disapprove of the performer’s interpretation. With each performance, musicians are evaluated or judged by their peers and audiences as to whether or not they have performed at a level expected. Additionally, to have a successful performance, a musician must put on a good show in order to communicate to the audience. If the performance is not positively received by the audience, the performer may feel ashamed or embarrassed, and may even think that the severe reception reflects the performer’s lack of aptitude as a musician. Furthermore, since musicians dedicate so much of their lives and time to practicing, preparing, and performing, oftentimes their identity revolves around being a successful musician. To speak to the audience successfully, a musician must be vulnerable with his or her performance. However, vulnerability can lead to degradation, and thus, a breakdown of mental health. An unfavorable critique of their performance may also make them feel inadequate as a human and professional. Therefore, musicians often suffer different types of anxiety connected with their performances. Depression is one dominant mental health issue prevalent in many musicians.

Not only is it the professional nature of the musicians’ work that highlights their depression, it is also the creative component of their work that intensifies their depression. Such was the case with Christian Ferras, a French violinist born in 1933. Ferras was considered a prodigy as a violinist and performed with many well known conductors, orchestras, and accompanists. Unfortunately, he battled with his depression throughout his career. Ferras took some time off from performing and teaching from 1967–1975, but ultimately was not able to regain the career that he wanted. In 1982 at the age of forty-nine, Ferras committed suicide by jumping out of his Paris apartment window.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Simeonov, Simeon
Commitee: Doyle, Alicia M., Miller, Alexander
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 58/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Biographies, Mental health, Music
Keywords: Depression, Ferras, Christian, Performance, Suicide, Violin, Vulnerability
Publication Number: 10840357
ISBN: 978-0-438-63369-8
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