August 12, 2021

Pianist Jonathan Biss Featured in Short Film for the OC87 Recovery Diaries About Anxiety, a Topic Covered in His Audible Original, Unquiet: My Life With Beethoven

Pianist Jonathan Biss speaks candidly about anxiety in a short film titled Now Unquiet: The Journey of Pianist Jonathan Biss produced for the OC87 Recovery Diaries, an interactive website that features stories of mental health, empowerment, and change. The film, directed by Glenn Holsten, features Mr. Biss talking about his reckoning with, and management of, anxiety, expanding on the subject matter addressed in his best-selling Audible Original memoir, Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven. The 13-minute film also features performances by Mr. Biss of works by Schumann, Janáček, and Beethoven. The film can be viewed on the OC87 Recovery Diaries’ website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The OC87 Recovery Diaries website was developed by the creative team behind the full-length 2012 documentary OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie. After receiving feedback from audiences, they wanted to create a forum focused on stories of mental health recovery. In the short film, Mr. Biss speaks about the cruel irony of realizing that the thing he loves the most—playing music—was a catalyst for extreme stress. He says:

“I was ashamed of it. For years, admitting that I had this problem felt very, very much like admitting to failure. You can only address a problem you admit you have, and I remember that when I first told someone in my professional life that I have an issue with anxiety, it felt momentous. That began the very, very slow process of reimagining a relationship with myself, where to play a piece of music, I don't need to be more or less than who I am.”

Since its publication, Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven—the first Audible Original by a classical musician—has been in the top 5% of Audible sales and has received consistently positive customer reviews. Excerpts from Unquiet have recently featured on the Psychology Today website and Mr. Biss has been a guest on Ariana Huffington’s “What I’ve Learned” podcast.