American pianist Leon Fleisher (1928-2020), despite a career curtailed by hand injury at the age of only thirty-six, leaves a legacy as a titan among pianists and indeed among all musicians. With a lineage of teachers reaching directly back to Beethoven, Fleisher commanded a position of unrivaled authority in the interpretation of the greatest classical composers, from Mozart to Beethoven to Brahms. His recordings of the concertos of Beethoven and Brahms are definitive and essential references for all pianists, and his impact as the most insightful and eloquent of teachers is legendary.
Our hosts, pianist Gloria Chien and violinist Soovin Kim, will reveal the life and work of one of the greatest artists of our age. Joining the panel is Leon Fleisher’s son Julian Fleisher, himself a musician; longtime friend of Leon Fleisher and acclaimed pianist and mentor, Gary Graffman; and former student of Leon Fleisher, acclaimed pianist, and CMS Bowers Program alum, Jonathan Biss.
The program also features pre-recorded reminiscences and words from Deborah Fleisher, Dickie Fleisher, Katherine Jacobson Fleisher, Leah Fleisher, Paula Fleisher; and Gilbert Kalish, Jaime Laredo, Shirley Perle, Sharon Robinson, and André Watts.
Originally aired May 24, 2021
|Available on-demand until
Taiwanese-born pianist Gloria Chien has a diverse musical life as a performer, concert presenter, and educator. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard, and performed again with the BSO under Keith Lockhart. Recently she has performed as a recitalist and chamber musician at Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, the Phillips Collection, the Kissingen Sommer festival, the Dresden Chamber Music Festival, and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan. A former member of The Bowers Program, she performs frequently with CMS. In 2009 she launched String Theory, a chamber music series at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, which has become one of Tennessee’s premier classical music presenters. The following year she was appointed Director of the Chamber Music Institute at Music@Menlo by Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, a position she held for the next decade. In 2017, she joined her husband, violinist Soovin Kim, as Co-Artistic Director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont. The duo became Artistic Directors at Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, OR, in 2020, and were named the recipients of the 2021 Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music from CMS, recognizing their efforts during the pandemic. Ms. Chien received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Russell Sherman and Wha-Kyung Byun. She is an artist-in-residence at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and is a Steinway Artist.