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Leon Fleisher
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Musician
    (July 23, 1928- )
    Born in San Francisco, California
    Classical pianist and conductor
    Best known for his recordings of the piano concertos of Brahms and Beethoven
    Lost use of his right hand in the mid-1960s due to focal dystonia
    Regained use of the hand in the mid-1990s following treatment with rolfing and botox injections
    Subject of the documentary short film 'Two Hands' (2006)
    Co-wrote the memoir 'My Nine Lives' (2010)
    Kennedy Center Honoree (2007)
    He was a child prodigy.
    He said about conducting, 'I immediately felt my ass to be ten times its normal size, waving around in front of the audience.'
    He gripped the baton so tightly that he developed carpal tunnel syndrome.
    Much of the attention he receives is focused on his comeback from adversity rather than his musicianship.
    He was described as 'one of the most gifted of the younger generation of keyboard artists' by critic Olin Downes and 'the pianistic find of the century' by conductor Pierre Monteux.
    He said it was fortunate that it was his right hand that he lost use of, since thanks to Paul Wittgenstein there was already a repetorie of works for just the left hand.
    He underwent years of experimental treatments including brain surgery.
    The New York Times called him 'a pianist for whom never was never an option.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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