Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Leon Fleisher opens Gretna Music season

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and witf Host | Jun 25, 2015 1:22 PM

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From the age of four, Leon Fleisher knew that he wanted to be a concert pianist. A musical prodigy, he was the youngest student to be accepted to study with the legendary pianist and teacher Artur Schnabel. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 16. In the 1950's he was a rising star, and made acclaimed recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. 

But at the age of 36, a mysterious ailment struck his right hand, effectively ending his two-handed piano career.

Fleisher channeled his musical ability into both teaching and conducting, and performed works that were written for left-hand alone. But he continued to seek treatment that would allow him to play one again with both hands.

After 30 years, at the age of sixty-six, Fleisher found an experimental treatment involving injections of botox into his right hand which helped him regain some movement. He began performing again selected works with two hands.

He, with his wife and fellow piano virtuoso Katherine Jacobson Fleisher, opens Gretna Music's summer 2015 season at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse Wednesday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. performing solo and four-hands works such as Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze, Debussy's Claire de Lune, Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes, and Ravel's La Valse.

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