Leon Fleisher

Biography

Born: July 23, 1928; San Francisco, CA  
Leon Fleisher was among the leading American pianists of his generation, but was stricken with a debilitating condition in his right hand, which forced him to withdraw from public performance in 1965. He soon reappeared in repertory for the left hand alone and also turned to conducting, but until the late '90s rarely performed music for two hands. Since about 1995 he has been active as a two-handed pianist. Early in his career Fleisher had become Read more identified with the concertos of Beethoven and Brahms, the sonatas of Mozart and Schubert, and works by American composers (Kirchner, Copland, and Sessions). In his one-hand period, he often turned to the Prokofiev Fourth and Ravel D major, both for left hand, and since his rehabilitation in the 1990s Fleisher has returned to much of his earlier repertory. Fleisher's recordings are available on many labels, including Sony, DG, Vanguard, Albany, Orfeo, and Archipel.

Leon Fleisher was born in San Francisco on July 23, 1928. He began playing the piano at four and gave his first recital at six. He studied with keyboard icon Artur Schnabel from 1938-1948 and gave several remarkable debut concerts, including with the San Francisco Symphony in 1942 and with the New York Philharmonic in 1944, both under Pierre Monteux. Fleisher would later study conducting with Monteux.

Having won the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Belgium in 1952, Fleisher went on to achieve international acclaim over the next decade. In 1965 he withdrew from concertizing and sought out medical attention for his then-undiagnosed condition.

Fleisher began conducting in 1967, founding the Washington, D.C.-based Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center. In 1970 he was appointed music director of the Annapolis Symphony and three years later became associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

In the early '90s Fleisher was finally correctly diagnosed with focal dystonia and began receiving effective treatments in 1995. Botox injections were added to his regimen in the new century, bringing further improvement. Fleisher gave his first recital at Carnegie in four decades in 2003, and the following year Vanguard released Two Hands, his first two-handed album in more than 40 years. In 2006 a documentary about Fleisher bearing the same title was released and nominated for an Academy Award. Fleisher has been on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory (now Institute) since 1959 and has taught at Curtis Institute of Music and Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 29 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Four Hands / Leon Fleisher, Katherine Jacobson
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 506416 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Maurice Ravel,  William Bolcom
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Katherine Jacobson
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  • 2.
    Two Hands  / Leon Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 510462 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    CD: $11.99
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  • 3.
    Leon Fleisher:  All The Things You Are
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9429 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Leon Kirchner,  Earl Wild,  George Perle  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
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  • 4.
    75 Years Ysaye & Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition [cd & Book]
    Label: Muso   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Pierre-Alain Volondat,  Wolfgang Manz,  Andrei Nikolsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz André,  Georgea Octors,  Edo De Waart,  Rene Defossez  ... 
    CD: $55.49
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  • 5.
    Leon Fleisher - The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 545997 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  César Franck,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jules Eskin,  Benita Valente,  Harold Wright  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Seiji Ozawa,  Leon Fleisher,  Szymon Goldberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Brahms: Complete Chamber Music [11-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001725902 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Augustin Dumay,  Maria-Joao Pires,  Christian Ferras,  Pierre Barbizet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet,  Hagen String Quartet,  Amadeus Quartet
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    CD: $64.49
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos No 2 & 4;  Gluck / Leon Fleisher, Et Al
    Label: Medici Masters   Catalog: 36-2 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud,  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    Waldbuhne Concert - French Night
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4507 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Offenbach,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Georges Prętre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $19.99
    DVD: $15.99
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  • 9.
    Hindemith: Klaviermusic;  Dvorak: Symphony No 9 / Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Et Al
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1141 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Paul Hindemith
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Curtis Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $16.99
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  • 10.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos No 12, 7 & 23 / Leon Fleisher, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 743505 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Katherine Jacobson Fleisher
    Conductor:  Leon Fleisher
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
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  • 11.
    George Szell - Salzburg Concert 1957 - Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, Mendelssohn
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 774083 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Claude Debussy,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $54.49
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  • 12.
    The Essential Leon Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 721581 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Raphael Hillyer,  Isidore Cohen,  Robert Mann  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 13.
    Brahms: Quartets, Etc / Fleisher, Emerson String Quartet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000871802 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Philip Setzer,  David Finckel,  Eugene Drucker,  Lawrence Dutton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Emerson String Quartet
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    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    Leon Kirchner: Works For Solo Piano / Jeremy Denk, Et Al
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 906 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leon Kirchner
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Peter Serkin,  Max Levinson,  Jonathan Biss  ... 
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  • 15.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3 & 4 / Fleisher, Szell, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 78767 Release Date: 08/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Grieg, Schumann: Piano Concertos / Fleisher, Szell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92751 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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    CD: $8.99
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  • 17.
    Historical - Ravel: Concerto For Left Hand, Etc / Fleisher
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1614 Release Date: 03/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    In Honor Of His 80th Birthday - Kirchner - Works 1948-1973
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1045 Release Date: 07/20/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leon Kirchner
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Diana Hoagland,  George Neikrug,  Nathan Rubin  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Chamber Ensemble,  Beaux Arts Quartet,  Lenox String Quartet  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Korngold, Schmidt - Music For Strings & Piano Left Hand / Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 48253 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Franz Schmidt
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Jaime Laredo,  Joseph Silverstein  ... 
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  • 20.
    Brahms: Piano Concertos No 1 & 2, Etc / Fleisher, Szell, Cleveland Orchestra
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 63225 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Jules Eskin
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Laderman: Concerto For Orchestra;  Britten: Diversions
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 122 Release Date: 04/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ezra Laderman,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64052 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Dennis O'Neill,  Gwynne Howell,  Suzanne Murphy,  Carolyn Watkinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas,  George Szell,  Sir Colin Davis,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Chamber Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Ravel, Prokofiev: Piano Concertos; Britten / Fleisher, Ozawa
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47188 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Benjamin Britten,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Piano Concertos 2 & 4 / Fleisher, Szell
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 48165 Release Date: 06/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 25.
    Schubert: Wanderer Fantasy, Etc / Fleisher, Freire
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 47667 Release Date: 06/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher,  Nelson Freire
    ArkivCD $16.99
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