Although concerned with weighty matters, Swick himself is
anything but ponderous. With cheerful, understated humor he combines the precision of
medical science with the compassion and sensibility found in literature and music, in
which he has a keen interest.
Music can and has been used throughout time and across cultures as a way to heal
sickness, Swick says. The various ways in Navajo culture, for
example, use song and have a healing intent. The Tuareg tribe of the African Sahara have
elaborate music and dancing rituals as part of their healing practice.
Even the popular tarantella music and dance of 17th-century Italy were created to purge
people of the poison in a spiders bite, he says.
The impact of illness on music is equally interesting to Swick, and he has made a study
of how different composers illnesses such as Beethovens deafness or
Schumanns manic depression did or did not impact their work.
This spring the institute will host a three-part series for the public called
Images of Healing. On April 11, renowned poet and radiologist from England
Dannie Abse and art historian Joan Abse will present Voices in the Gallery,
featuring selected works of art and poetry written about them. The series will continue
April 25 and May 13 with UM art and music faculty participating.