Charleston Symphony Orchestra kicks off 80th season with pianist Leon Fleisher

Charleston Symphony Orchestra kicks off 80th season with pianist Leon Fleisher

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Symphony Orchestra will inaugurate its 80th season Saturday with a special performance by legendary pianist Leon Fleisher.

"There are pianists who play all the notes, and then the rare few that make the piano sound like an entire orchestra," said Ken Lam, Charleston Symphony Orchestra's music director, said. "Leon Fleisher is a living legend – you will not want to miss this rare opportunity to hear him perform Ravel and Mozart with the CSO."

Saturday's performance will feature Fleisher playing Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, 7 in F major for two pianos.

For the second half of the concert, CSO will perform Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World."

"The composer Ravel wrote this piece so when you listen with your eyes closed, that nothing sounded different than ordinary," Leon Fleisher said.

Recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 and Grammy Award nominee, Fleisher was the first American to win the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in 1952.

Twenty years after his debut and at the height of his success, two fingers on Fleisher's right hand were rendered immobile due to a neurological impairment.

It was not until the mid-1990's when Fleisher was once again able to use his right hand after years of treatment, although he spent the years in between focused on repertoire for the left hand only, conducting and teaching.

The special performance on September 10 will provide patrons a rare opportunity to hear a two-hand concerto.

"It's a very colorful score and just collaborating with Mr. Fleisher is a dream come true for everyone," Lam said.

Saturday's opening gala, "A Night to Remember," will include a reception, performance, gala dinner and auction.

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