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By Holly Selby and Holly Selby,SUN STAFF | December 3, 1997
Renowned pianist Leon Fleisher yesterday announced publicly that he has left his position as artistic director of Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts, a post he has held since 1985.Fleisher, who also has taught at Peabody Institute for 39 years, yesterday sent a letter to Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Seiji Ozawa and to board members, in which he first thanked them for the opportunity to direct at Tanglewood, then stated: "I have not resigned. I consider myself to have been relieved of my position as Artistic Director."
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2014
Everything music lovers have long admired about pianist Leon Fleisher - penetrating intellect, technical authority, uncommon expressive power - are reconfirmed on "All the Things You Are," a thoroughly engrossing CD from Bridge Records devoted primarily to music for left hand alone. It's a great reminder that this octogenarian can communicate more with five fingers than many a younger pianist does with 10. Fleisher lost the use of his right hand in 1965, six years after he joined the Peabody Conservatory faculty, due to what was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia.
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NEWS
December 4, 2007
Baltimoreans have long acknowledged the city's good fortune in having pianist Leon Fleisher in residence at the Peabody Conservatory. Though not a native, he has made the city his home for 48 years and has enhanced Baltimore's cultural scene and reputation through teaching, conducting and, most notably, performing over these many years, even as he struggled to overcome a debilitating affliction of his right hand. But his talent has reached far beyond the borders of his adopted city - and his receipt of a Kennedy Center Honors award last weekend confirmed that.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2014
Baltimore arts patrons Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker have donated $1 million to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University to establish scholarships for students of near-legendary pianist and veteran Peabody faculty artist Leon Fleisher. In a statement released Monday, Meyerhoff called the 85-year-old Fleisher "quite simply, one of the great musicians of our time," one who "attracts stellar pianistic talents to the Peabody Institute from all over the world. " The new donation follows the $1 million Meyerhoff and Becker donated in recent years to support an endowment for undergraduate piano scholarships.
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By Rashod D. Ollison and Rashod D. Ollison,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | June 11, 2005
He's "made it" in New York. In the last five years or so, singer-producer Julian Fleisher has performed all over the Big Apple and beyond, his energetic mix of modern pop, show tunes and traditional jazz garnering praise from the Village Voice, The New York Times, Billboard magazine and other top publications. But for a while, it seemed the man couldn't even get arrested in his native Baltimore. "I'm surprised it's taken this long to get a show in Baltimore," says Fleisher, who's calling from his East Village home in New York City.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | November 5, 1992
Kraushaar Auditorium is usually pretty well filled for the concerts of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. Last night it was absolutely packed.The reason was the evening's soloist -- pianist Leon Fleisher, who played Prokofiev's Concerto for the Left Hand with the BCO and its music director, Anne Harrigan. Ever since the mysterious affliction that deprived him of the use of his right hand in piano performance, the Prokofiev has been (along with the Ravel) one of the mainstays of his concerto repertory.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 8, 1996
Pianists fall into two groups: charmers who can make inferior music sound better than it is and those who -- to paraphrase Artur Schnabel -- are attracted to music that is better than it can possibly be performed. Schnabel was famously a member of the second group, and he set standards for musical integrity that were unequalled in his time.But Schnabel's achievements were matched and might eventually have been surpassed by Leon Fleisher, his most important student and artistic heir. But Fleisher, who Sunday evening performed the opening concert in this season's Shriver Hall Series, can now only rarely perform the music of which he was once the predestined interpreter.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | April 24, 1995
Cleveland -- With the grace, nonchalance and absence of fanfare with which a Mozart piano concerto begins, Leon Fleisher slipped back into two-handed piano playing this past weekend.His appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra and music director Christoph von Dohnanyi Thursday and Saturday was only the second time since 1965 that the man still regarded as the greatest pianist ever born in the United States has performed in public with both hands. For most classical music lovers, Fleisher's return to two-handed playing is on a par with Bo Jackson returning as a star in both baseball and football.
SPORTS
By Sam Borden and Sam Borden,SUN STAFF | July 1, 2000
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - On Thursday, Bruce Fleisher tied a course record with a 64 and was nothing but a side dish, garnishing Jack Nicklaus' historical feast of a 67. But during yesterday's second round at the U.S. Senior Open, Fleisher's 69 was nothing short of the appetizer, main course and dessert. Don't assume, however, that the 36-hole leader's day was a sumptuous one. The butterflies dancing in his stomach yesterday morning left no room for breakfast before his second trip around Saucon Valley Country Club, leaving Fleisher to subsist on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich his wife, Wendy, prepared for him. It all caught up to him after the round, though, where he closely eyed a hot dog loaded with sauerkraut as he addressed the media.
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By Pierre Ruhe and Pierre Ruhe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 5, 1997
The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra began its concert Sunday afternoon at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills with Leon Fleisher as both conductor and soloist.On stage, the piano's usual placement for a concerto was rotated so Fleisher faced the orchestra and the keys faced the audience. The lid was removed to disperse the sound. Despite a few ragged entrances, the orchestra provided warm and graceful accompaniment to Fleisher's limpid, well-turned phrasing in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 in A, K. 414.A few minor finger slips at the piano did nothing to distract from an outstanding Mozartean performance.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2014
Well, that was exhilarating. The Peabody Symphony Orchestra's concert Thursday night delivered some impressive sonic power, with the near-legendary Leon Fleisher providing the ignition. Most celebrated as a pianist of uncommon insight, Fleisher began conducting decades ago when, due to focal dystonia, he lost use of his right hand. He brings to the podium the same striving for musical honesty and communicative depth that has always characterized his keyboard work (one- or two-handed)
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2013
On an upper floor of the Peabody Conservatory the other day, the sound of a piano played by a single hand could be heard coming from Leon Fleisher's studio. Even through the closed, thick door, there was no mistaking the authority behind that sound. Fleisher, who turned 85 on July 23, remains one of the most compelling pianists in the world, whether playing with one hand or two - only for the past dozen or so years, thanks to Botox injections, has he enjoyed limited reuse of his right hand, immobilized nearly five decades ago because of focal dystonia.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | August 12, 2013
Longtime record collectors will have previous incarnations of releases in the 23-compact disc boxed set, "Leon Fleisher: The Complete Album Collection" from Sony Classical. Ultra-serious collectors, of course, will still have the original LPs from the 1950s and '60s weighing down shelves (artwork and liner notes from those vinyl days are reproduced here on the CD sleeves). But it's still great to have Fleisher's recorded legacy on the Columbia Masterworks/Epic and Sony Classical labels gathered in one tidy box. Make that treasure-trove.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2013
Weekends are wonderfully musical around here, offering, more often than not, too many events for any one listener to take in, without benefit of helicopter or cloning. The choices I made last weekend paid handsome dividends. On Saturday night at the Gordon Center, which boasts some of the most satisfying acoustics around, the Concert Artists of Baltimore, led by Edward Polochick, delivered a typically diverse program in typically dynamic fashion. When it comes to our local professional orchestras, the Baltimore Symphony rightly holds pride of place; it's one of America's finest, after all. To my ears, the next ensemble in any Baltimore-area ranking would have to be Concert Artists, which, more often than not, plays way beyond its pay scale and produces a sound much richer than its size would suggest.
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2012
Risselle "Rikki" Fleisher, a former general counsel to the Maryland Commission on Human Relations who was a legal advocate in civil rights cases, died Tuesday of breast cancer at Stella Maris Hospice. The Bethany Beach, Del., resident was 77. "She wanted to right any wrong," said former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. "She was a caring person who grew up at a time when things were happening that never should have. She worked to change that. " Born Risselle Rosenthal in Baltimore and raised on Mohawk Avenue, she was a 1953 graduate of Forest Park High School, where she was a three-letter athlete, her yearbook's features editor and homeroom class president.
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By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun | February 3, 2011
Tresa Fleisher, a retired Harford County Health Department official, died of heart disease Jan. 21 at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. The Bel Air resident was 93. Born Tresa Smalbach in New York City, she earned a bachelor's degree in physiology and public health from Hunter College. She later took courses in industrial hygiene and environmental health at the old Catonsville Community College. She moved to Bel Air in 1946 when her former husband took a job at Edgewood Arsenal.
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By Ernest F. Imhoff and Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff | November 5, 1990
LEON FLEISHER, nearing 50 years of first-rate public piano recitals, has mused without total seriousness that one day he'll do his memoirs and call it "Eighty-eight Keys and No Lock." Lately, he's joking that maybe he'll call it "My Left Hand."Saturday night for one hour and 40 minutes of intensely played and felt music, the Baltimore virtuoso showed 500 entranced listeners in the Washington's Kennedy Center why. Fleisher and his left hand interpreted with total musicality six solo pieces for left-hand from Bach to Robert Saxton's 1988 "Chacony" and his part in an Erich Korngold quartet.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | May 11, 1994
Last week Stephen Prutsman brought a Friedberg Hall audience to its feet in cheers with a triumphant performance in what may be the most technically fearsome piano concerto in the repertory, Prokofiev's Concerto No. 2. Tonight in Kraushaar Auditorium with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and conductor Anne Harrigan, however, the young pianist will perform what he calls a "genuinely scary piece," Mozart's Concerto No. 15.What? The Mozart, which was composed for the fortepiano, the modern piano's fragile ancestor, more difficult than the Prokofiev, with percussive demands that chal-lenge to the utmost the modern instrument's cast-iron frame and steel strings?
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | January 20, 2011
Jonathan Biss, the young pianist who makes his Carnegie Hall recital debut on Friday and will repeat the program at the slightly more modest Shriver Hall on Sunday, could easily have become a violinist. But as he tells it on the bio page of his website, "the highlight of his career as a violinist took place when he was a fetus. " A few months before his birth in Indiana in 1980, Biss writes, "he performed, prenatally, the Mozart A major Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall, with the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Lorin Maazel.
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