Renowned pianist, conductor, and teacher Leon Fleisher, now in his sixth decade before the public, has been hailed for his duo performances with the acclaimed concert pianist Katherine Jacobson Fleisher.
2009 - 2010 Season
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This season Leon Fleisher reaffirms his place as one of today’s preeminent concert artists with performances in major music centers around the world. He will open the Toronto Symphony season playing Mozart with conductor Peter Oundjian after summer engagements at Ravinia, The Festival Jacobins in Toulouse and with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. Fleisher will be heard in recital from New York to Montreal to Lucerne to England’s The Sage at Gateshead and with orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Phillipe Jordan, The Dusseldorfer Symphoniker under Andrey Boreyko, and as conductor/soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Leon Fleisher’s deep commitment to sharing his insights and mentoring the next generation will be evidenced by the first Carnegie Hall Workshop for Pianists in Japan at Suntory Hall as well as a Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall in New York City. There will also be college, conservatory and university visits and residencies with Fleisher conducting student ensembles and performing and holding piano and chamber music workshops at institutions including the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Vanderbilt University, Rollins College, Peabody Conservatory, the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, Germany and the Dublin Conservatory of Music, Ireland.
Last season, Fleisher enthralled capacity audiences with performances in New York, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and internationally in London, Brussels, Lucerne, Singapore and Vancouver, reaffirming his place among the legendary pianists and musicians of our time. In conjunction with his return to Europe’s most prestigious musical capitals, two films on Fleisher by award-winning music and arts filmmaker Mark Kidel — Lessons of A Master and Maestro — were premiered at the Curzon Mayfair in London and on ARTE (Franco-German TV-Channel) and the theatre of La SCAM in France.
A year of celebratory performances in 2008 commemorating Leon Fleisher’s 80th birthday coincided with the resurgence of his early recordings on Sony Masterworks – regarded as some of the greatest in classical music – among them the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos, which were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame the same year.
Sony Masterworks signed Fleisher to a new recording deal, starting with the March 31, 2009 release of his first two-hand piano concerto recording in over 40 years, a trio of Mozart concertos recorded with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. The release comprises Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488; Concerto no. 12 in A Major, K. 414; and Concerto No. 7 in F Major for two pianos, K. 242, for which he is joined by his wife Katherine Jacobson Fleisher.
At the age of nine, Fleisher began studies with the great German pianist Artur Schnabel, made his New York Philharmonic debut at sixteen and was the first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in 1952. He made touchstone recordings with Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra and for a dozen years he appeared in all the world’s major music centers to great acclaim until, in 1965, he was struck with a neurological affliction that rendered two fingers of his right hand immobile. For almost four decades, Fleisher continued to share his special gifts through performances of the repertoire for left-hand, as a conductor and teacher, never giving up the hope that he would play again with both hands. Through special treatments, he has been playing with both hands again in recent seasons and making critically-acclaimed recordings.
Fleisher received the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors at the 30th annual celebration of the arts where Caroline Kennedy recognized him as “a piano prodigy from the Golden Gate who rose to the heights, embraced adversity and became a musician for all seasons.” In 2005, Fleisher was honored by the French government and was named Commander in the French Order of Arts and Letters, the highest rank of its kind. The first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium competition (1952), Fleisher now holds numerous honors including the Johns Hopkins University President’s Medal and honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Amherst College, Boston Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Juilliard School of Music and Peabody Institute. He is working on a book for Doubleday with acclaimed writer and music critic Anne Midgette, planned for release in 2010.
Katherine Jacobson Fleisher’s international performing career as soloist, duo pianist and chamber musician has received critical acclaim. Her Carnegie Hall debut with piano partner Leon Fleisher was praised in the New York Times for its “abundant musicality and refined technique.”
Orchestras with which she has performed include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra of Portugal, Aspen Summer Music Festival Chamber Symphony, the Michoacán Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in Toronto.
Her major musical influence was Leon Fleisher, with whom she worked at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Ms. Jacobson Fleisher is currently the director of the Piano Ensemble program at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. This season she will appear in recitals and with orchestra in Japan, Ireland, Germany, Canada and Mexico as well as the United States.
For more information please see www.KatherineJacobsonFleisher.com.