Exploring connections between mental health and classical music, a special for National Mental Health Month

Classical music and musicians, like other art forms and artists, have long sought to communicate a spectrum of emotional states to its audiences. An enduring power of classical music is its exploration of those regions of the human heart that would otherwise be inaccessible, bringing them to the surface where they can be experienced with recognition and release.

To refine this power, classical composers and musicians need to be on intimate terms with all it may speak to: with emotional equilibrium, as well as instability; with subjective wholeness, as well as emptiness; with connection as well as loneliness; with inner calm as well as trauma and abjection. Throughout history many these artists have themselves fallen victim to mental illnesses not well understood in their lifetimes, let alone compassionately treated.

In recent times, the past decade in particular, composers and musicians have addressed issues of mental health head on. This has roughly coincided with a deeper understanding of all forms of mental and social syndromes and the steady (if still incomplete) process of their destigmatization. They have also tried to address realities, such as our society's current loneliness and suicide epidemics, for audiences anxious to understand and remedy them. 

Regions of the Heart, a national special for Mental Health Month, will explore the ways classical music and musicians have sought to address mental health through their chosen art form.

In terms of mental health and healing, classical music can express, console, channel, enlighten, and even heal. Regions of the Heart will give listeners an hourlong sampling of these rich and uplifting connections.


Steve Seel

Steve Seel possesses a broad knowledge of many musical genres, having hosted radio programs ranging from classical to jazz and even avant-garde music at public radio stations around the country. Steve came to Minnesota Public Radio in 1999 to be a part of its nationally syndicated classical music programming. In 2005, he became one of the founding voices on MPR's eclectic station The Current and has hosted various time slots from mornings to late nights, and conducted in-depth interviews with pop music luminaries ranging from Brian Eno to David Byrne to Tori Amos. Steve is an avid reader of political and social commentary as well, and he emcees The Current's popular Policy and a Pint community series, featuring discussions with noted scholars, politicians, community leaders, authors and big thinkers on important issues of the day. Steve is also a basement composer obsessed with all things both minimalist and slow and might actually be incapable of writing anything that exceeds 75 beats-per-minute.


One hour

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Preview audio available: April 17, 2020
Program playlist available: May 1, 2020
Promo spot available: May 1, 2020
Program and rundown available: May 1, 2020


Broadcast Window

May 1-May 31, 2020, with multiple airings permitted.

Broadcast Rights

Affiliate stations may carry this program multiple times before June 1, 2020. The program must be carried in its entirety. No excerpting is permitted. Simulcast streaming rights are available for this program. Prior to carrying this program, stations must contact their American Public Media Station Relations Representative.

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