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Mentally ill and their backers fill orchestra

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — Ronald Braunstein’s career as a musical conductor got off to a brilliant start. He attended The Juilliard School, performed as a guest with top orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic, and won the prestigious Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in 1979.

But bipolar disorder slowed what might have been an explosive career, including three five-year periods when, he said, he had trouble merely getting out of bed.

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