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Renowned Pianist Leon Fleisher to Perform for Diehn Concert Series, Judge Classical Period Piano Competition

World-renowned pianist and composer Leon Fleisher will visit Old Dominion University for the Diehn Concert Series in conjunction with the 24th Annual Harold Protsman Classical Period Piano Competition, March 19-21.

The concert will be at 8 p.m. Monday, March 21, in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. Along with solo piano works, Fleisher will perform the Mozart Piano Concerto in A major, K. 414, with the ODU Symphony Orchestra, directed by Lucy Manning.

The piano competition will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 19, in the Diehn Center and conclude at 2:30 p.m., with Fleisher as guest judge. The Old Dominion University Classical Period Piano Competition was renamed in 2007 in honor of Professor Emeritus Harold Protsman, in recognition of his many years of dedication, professionalism and service to both the competition and the ODU music department.

The competition is funded, in part, by the F. Ludwig Diehn Fund of The Norfolk Foundation and by generous gifts from Helen and Warren Aleck. For more information go to http://al.odu.edu/music/competition or call 683-4061.

As part of the musical weekend, music faculty Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn will perform works of piano duets by Bach and Maurice Ravel at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 20, in Chandler Recital Hall. Following this performance, Fleisher will give a master class for selected finalists at 3 p.m. in Chandler Recital Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the Diehn Concert on March 21 - $15 for general admission and $10 for students - are available in the University Theatre lobby from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or in the atrium of the Diehn Center on the day of the event. Tickets may be ordered by calling 683-5305. An endowment established at The Norfolk Foundation, made possible by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. F. Ludwig Diehn, funds the concert series.

One of today's pre-eminent concert artists with performances in major music centers around the world, Fleisher released his first two-hand piano concerto recording in more than 40 years in March 2009.

Debuting with the New York Philharmonic in 1944, he quickly established himself as one of the world's premier classical pianists, concertizing with every major orchestra and making numerous touchstone recordings. At the height of his career, he was suddenly struck silent at age 37 with a neurological affliction known as focal dystonia, rendering two fingers on his right hand immobile.

In the nearly four decades since Fleisher's keyboard career was suddenly curtailed, he has followed two parallel careers - as conductor and teacher - while learning the extraordinary but limited repertoire for piano left-hand. Experimental treatments recently restored the mobility in his right hand, and he now plays with both hands again.

Fleisher received the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors at the 30th annual Celebration of the Arts, and in 2005 he was honored by the French government when he was named Commander in the French Order of Arts and Letters, the highest rank of its kind. The first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium competition (1952), Fleisher holds numerous honors, including the Johns Hopkins University President's Medal and honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Amherst College, New England Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music and the Juilliard School.

This article was posted on: March 10, 2011

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