Leon Fleisher was born in San Francisco in 1928. He had his piano debut at the age of eight, began studies with Artur Schnabel at nine, made his San Francisco Symphony debut at 14, and had his Carnegie Hall debut at 16 playing with the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Monteux. He won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in Belgium in 1952, became one of the most sought-after soloists and recitalists in the world’s finest concert halls, and began a rich series of recordings. His landmark version of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms concertos as well as his solo recordings of Schubert would become cult classics.
When the loss of the use of his right hand in 1965 forced a radical change in his musical life for more than 30 years, Fleisher followed two parallel careers – in teaching and conducting, which he studied with Pierre Monteux. He began conducting in 1967, founding the Theatre Chamber Players at the Kennedy Center and shortly thereafter in 1970 becoming the music director of the Annapolis Symphony. He made his New York conducting debut at the 1970 Mostly Mozart Festival and in 1973 became Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal and Detroit, among others. He also had a regular association with the New Japan Philharmonic as its Principal Guest Conductor, leading the orchestra in a series of concerts each season, as well as with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Fleisher never gave up the idea of playing piano with both hands again. Experimental treatments using a regimen of rolfing and ‘botulinum toxin’ (botox) injections finally restored the mobility in Fleisher’s hand, and for nearly a decade he has played with both hands, winning enormous acclaim for his recital and orchestral performances.
Concert tickets, $50. Checks payable to: Pierre Monteux School. Send to: Benefit Concert, PO Box 457, Hancock, ME 04640. For additional information: 422-3280.
Contact Name: Ron Schwizer, Executive Director
Telephone Number: 207 4228267