Symphony Space Pays Tribute to Pianist Leon Fleisher

Classic Arts News   Symphony Space Pays Tribute to Pianist Leon Fleisher
New York's Symphony Space celebrates pianist Leon Fleisher, who recently recovered the ability to perform with both hands, with a two-day "Leoniade" this week.

The celebration starts tonight with a recital and an interview of Fleisher conducted by WNYC radio's John Schaefer, and continues on Saturday, October 9, when Fleisher's students will participate in a 12-hour marathon performance of all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas.

A celebrated soloist while still a teenager, Fleisher began to suffer in the early 1960s from a neurological ailment, since diagnosed as dystonia, that prevented him from playing with his right hand. He eventually became expert at playing works for the left hand, while making intermittent attempts to return to the standard repertoire.

Recently, treatments with the botulinum toxin (better known as Botox), have allowed Fleisher to play with both hands consistently. Last month, he released his first album of two-handed repertoire in 40 years, with works by Bach, Scarlatti, Debussy, Chopin, and Schubert, to a wave of critical acclaim; the CD, titled Two Hands, is at number two on Billboard's classical charts this week.

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