MPC Monthly Meeting



September 15, 2013 

at the Michigan League, Vandenberg Room

11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Continental breakfast provided


Please Join MPC Colleagues for Our Monthly Clinical Program

2 CEUs for Social Workers


Glory, Suffering, Struggle, and Triumph: 
Beethoven, his Deafness and His Piano Concertos
Alvin Curtis Spindler, M.D., Psychoanalyst
Evangeline J. Spindler, M.D., Psychoanalyst
Robert E. Weinstein, M.D.


Using Mozart as his musical ego ideal, Beethoven began composing, in his late teens and early twenties, piano concertos to showcase his unmatched virtuosity, brilliant improvisation, compositional competence, and to fulfill his aspiration as Mozart’s musical heir.  However, during this glorious time of achievement, of fame and fortune,   young Beethoven was beset by terrifying symptoms of his slowly progressive deafness, which not only gravely threatened his performing career, but also reactivated certain overwhelmingly painful unconscious traumatic “memories” and fantasies from various stages of his development. He was driven to contemplate suicide.  Yet something within him propelled him to defy fate and to create ground breaking compositions that forever changed the landscape of European music.

In this presentation, we shall trace the crucially important childhood and adolescent attachments that sustained him, which contributed to his capacity to survive his gut wrenching struggles and triumph.  Based on biographical data, with a focus on his piano concertos, we shall advance our conjecture that young Beethoven’s improvisations represented his free associations in music, and that the receptive and trusted listener(s) functioned as his quasi-analyst(s), analogous to the way that Wilhelm Fliess functioned as a quasi-analyst for the young Sigmund Freud.

Relevant audiovisual illustrations will be offered to enhance your enjoyment of the presentation.


EVANGELINE J. SPINDLER, M.D.  is Past President of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society, and faculty at MPC, MPI and University of Michigan Medical School.  She studied the history of music from Palestrina to Stravinsky at the University of California at Berkeley.

ALVIN CURTIS SPINDLER, M.D.  is a research scholar in applied psychoanalysis, former Faculty Supervisor at the former UMHS Intensive Psychotherapy Clinic, and a member of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry. He studied selected Beethoven Symphonies at Princeton University.

ROBERT E. WEINSTEIN, M.D. is past Chief of the Section of Allergy at Providence Hospital in Southfield and Fellow of the American College of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  He is a wayward student of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Czerny, having studied Jazz at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.



The Michigan Psychoanalytic Council (MPC) is an independent, contemporary training institute founded on feminist principles and open to diverse theoretical perspectives.  We offer a positive professional community and welcome colleagues from within and without the psychoanalytic community to join us for our free monthly programs and classes.  2 CEUs available for Social Workers licensed in Michigan. Monthly programs include continental breakfast.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information.


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