“American pianist Leon Fleisher’s career was shaped by the injury to his right hand, which meant he dedicated his playing to much of the left-hand piano repertoire
American pianist Leon Fleisher has died, aged 92. Particularly renowned for his extensive performance of the left-handed piano repertoire, Fleisher recorded many of the works originally written for Paul Wittgenstein, who lost the use of his right hand after his arm was amputated during the First World War. Fleisher’s pursuit of the left-hand repertoire came after he lost the use of his right hand through focal dystonia, a neurological condition that affects the muscles. Despite this, after physical therapy in later life he was able to regain the use of his right hand.
Beginning his career as a child prodigy, Fleisher learnt under Artur Schnabel from the age of nine, going on to make his debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at just 16 years old.
Shortly after, he began a prolific recording career with Columbia Masterwork, in which he recorded concertos by Brahms, Liszt and Beethoven under conductors including Leonard Bernstein and George Szell.”