lEON fLEISHER (Guest artist)
Andrew W. Mellon Chair in Piano
Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University
Pianist Leon Fleisher thrives in a sustained career as conductor and soloist, recitalist, chamber music artist, and master class mentor. He made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1944 and in 1952 became the first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium competition, establishing himself as one of the world’s premier classical pianists. At the height of his success, he was suddenly struck at age 36 with a neurological affliction later identified as focal dystonia, rendering two fingers on his right hand immobile. Rather than end his career, Mr. Fleisher began focusing on repertoire for the left hand only, conducting, and teaching. In the mid-90’s he able to return to playing with both hands after experimental treatments using a regimen of Rolfing and 'botulinum toxin' injections. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, he received the honor of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Minister of Culture of the French government as well as the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 and is the subject of the 2006 Oscar and Emmy-nominated documentary film Two Hands. In 2013, Sony Classical issued a 23-CD box set of his entire recorded output, and in 2014, Mr. Fleisher released his first solo CD in a decade, the Grammy nominated "All The Things You Are.” At age 88, in addition to his teaching at Peabody, Mr. Fleisher continues with an international schedule of master classes, performances and orchestral guest conducting.