Philosophers' Café

Mental illness and creativity

Co-sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library

Why did so many of the great composers and artists struggle with mental illness? Guest musicians: C. Ridley, D. Marcinek, A. Khvatova and T. Khvatova


Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:30 PM

Vancouver Public Library (Oakridge branch), 191–650 West 41st Ave. | 604-665-3980 | Map


  • Christopher Ludwig

    Christopher Ludwig is a highly accomplished composer, producer, flutist and poet. He is also the creator and owner of Ludwig Recordings. Mr. Ludwig holds bachelor degrees in music and in education, as well as a master's degree in composition from the University of British Columbia. Some of Ludwig’s teachers include renowned Canadian composers Stephen Chatman, Larry Nickel and Robert Pritchard. He is currently an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.

Musician Guests

Cliff Ridley - Baritone

A native of Victoria, B.C., Cliff Ridley studied at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Banff Centre and the Courtenay Youth Music Centre. He has worked in the 20th-century vocal repertoire with distinguished Canadian soprano Frances James Adaskin. He was also fortunate to fill out his vocal studies with Selena James and Catherine Wendol in Victoria, and with Robert Irwin and Dorothy Lawson in Winnipeg. He has performed frequently in Vancouver, and his repertoire ranges from the baroque to the contemporary.   

Cliff is a prolific recording artist. In 2006, he recorded and released two CDs with Canadian pianist Danielle Marcinek: "Ach des Knaben Augen (Ah, the boy's eyes)" and "Gentle Lady, do not sing sad songs…" (distributed by the Canadian Music Centre and Ludwig Recordings). He also subsequently recorded and released five full-length albums comprised entirely of musical compositions by Vancouver composer Christopher Ludwig.

Danielle Marcinek - Piano

Danielle Marcinek holds a bachelor of music with distinction and an ARCT in classical piano performance. Performing for royalty, dignitaries, politicians and celebrities at sea and on land across Europe, North America and abroad, she has developed an international reputation as a pianist and vocalist. In the past few years, Danielle has held residencies at London, England’s, Savoy, Harrods and RAC lounges as pianist and vocalist.

Danielle is a recording artist under the Con Brio label and Ludwig Recordings for her solo classical and accompanying piano work. For several years she has been an accomplished choral and vocal accompanist with the B.C. Choral Federations ‘Choral Stage’ programs, the Surrey Children’s Choir, The Vancouver Bach Choirs and the Vancouver Children’s Choir.

Alina Khvatova - Violin

Alina Khvatova was born in Moscow in 1996. In 2008 she and her family moved to Canada where she studied with great teachers such as Robert Rozek, Andrew Dawes and Dale Barltrop. She acquired her Music Performance Diploma from Vancouver Academy of Music at the age of 18. Some of her achievements include winning first place at Vancouver’s Friends of Chamber Music’s Young Chamber Music Players Competition and the National Music Festival in Kelowna in 2014, as well as being the concertmistress of Stradivari Ensemble led by Robert Rozek since 2012.

Alina is featured on Ludwig Recordings' 2015 release, Medicine Man.

Tatiana Khvatova - Piano

Tatiana Khvatova was born in Stupino, near Moscow. Tatiana studied at the Gnessin State Musical College, and received her master’s degree in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music. Before immigrating to Canada in 2008, Tatiana worked as piano teacher and accompanist at The Gnessin Music School, one of the most prestigious music schools in Russia. She also performed as a soloist with several philharmonic orchestras and was an accompanist at concerts and competitions in several of the great music halls in Moscow.

Since her arrival in Canada she has continued her active musical life teaching piano and playing at concerts and festivals throughout the Greater Vancouver area. In 2010 she participated in a recording project for a new piano examination series for the British Columbia Conservatory of Music. She continues to collaborate with baritone Cliff Ridley. Together, they have recorded numerous art songs by Vancouver composer Christopher Ludwig.

Admission: Free. Registration not required.

Duration: 90 mins

Related topic(s): Liberal Arts

About the Philosophers' Café

Philosophers’ Café is a series of informal public discussions in libraries, cafés and restaurants throughout Metro Vancouver. The cafés, which are open to everyone, have brought dialogue and discussion to thousands of people who are interested in exploring issues from the absurd to the sublime. To learn more about the Philosophers’ Café, please visit their website.

See café schedule