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Leon Fleisher (Photo of Leon Fleisher)

Leon Fleisher

Leon Fleisher (Pianist, conductor, and teacher; born July 23, 1928, in San Francisco, California)His musicianship is the stuff of legend, and his personal story is as heartbreaking as it is life affirming. Leon Fleisher was well on his way to conquering the music world at 16, singled out as "one of the most gifted of the younger generation of keyboard artists" by Olin Downes in The New York Times and soon hailed quite simply as "the pianistic find of the century" by the great conductor Pierre Monteux. He was cruelly sidelined at the height of his powers by a rare neurological disease that lost him the use of his right hand. Undeterred, while being told by his doctors that he would never play again, he became an inspirational teacher and an inspired conductor, all the while playing-and in fact revitalizing-the left-handed repertory, determined not to be defeated. Fleisher was, as the Times dubbed him, "a pianist for whom never was never an option.