There’s an interesting profile of pianist Leon Fleisher (pictured above), who lost the use of his right hand in 1964 from a neurological disorder, on the last ten years of his recovery in the New York Times. An excerpt:
His comeback has catapulted him up next to Lance Armstrong as a symbol of the indomitable human spirit and an inspiration to a broader public. “Two Hands,” a 20-minute documentary about Mr. Fleisher by Nathaniel Kahn, was nominated for an Oscar this year. Mr. Fleisher proudly sports in his lapel the small grosgrain rosette the French government bestowed on him last year. ("And when I go to bed,” he said, “I put it on my pajamas.")
Several weeks shy of his 80th birthday [correction: 79th], Mr. Fleisher maintains a schedule most people half his age would find exhausting, performing widely and recording, most recently, the Brahms Piano Quintet with the Emerson String Quartet, just released by Deutsche Grammophon. He rejects the suggestion that he’s making up for lost time.
Leon Fleisher joins violinist Jaime Laredo and other established musicians in December for a series of “Chamber Music at the Y” concerts. Subscriptions are available now.