Stories » Leon Fleisher's inspiring left-hand Prokofiev concerto #4 with CSO / Cincinnati.com

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Leon Fleisher's inspiring left-hand Prokofiev concerto #4 with CSO / Cincinnati.com

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Imagine being a concert pianist – and suddenly losing the ability to use your right hand. In his mid-30s, that is what happened to pianist Leon Fleisher, who was stricken with a neurological disorder called focal dystonia. Now 87, Fleisher has become one of the world's most revered virtuosos of repertoire for the left hand.

How inspiring it was, then, to hear Fleisher perform Prokofiev's rarely played Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Friday morning in Music Hall. Guest conductor Christof Perick led the program, which included Richard Strauss' "Symphonia domestica," an extraordinary tone poem for vast symphonic forces. This was Fleisher's first appearance with the CSO since 1987 – and it was also the orchestra's the first-ever performance of Prokofiev's Fourth Piano Concerto. Like Ravel's well-known Concerto for the Left Hand, Prokofiev was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, the Austrian pianist who lost his right arm in World War I.

READ THE FULL Cincinnati.com REVIEW