Another historic concert. This week it’s The Cleveland Orchestra, led by Music Director Lorin Maazel and featuring Leon Fleisher, piano in a concert from the 1976 Blossom Music Festival.
All Prokofiev – Music from the ballet Romeo & Juliet – followed by the Piano Concerto Number 4 (for the left hand) with Leon Fleisher as soloist and concluding with the Symphony Number 5. A heavy dose of Prokofiev and a veritable feast for fans.
Born in France to Jewish-American parents, Lorin Maazel grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Oakland and had a lengthy and celebrated career. A child prodigy, Maazel conducted his first orchestra at 8 and at 11 guest conducted a radio concert by the NBC Symphony. At 12 he made his first American tour as Conductor, performing with most all the major symphony orchestras in the U.S. – at 15 he made his debut as a concert violinist, and shortly after studied Conducting with the legendary Pierre Monteux. In 1960 he became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.
Over the years, Maazel has held, in addition to his post as Music Director at Cleveland, positions as Music Director, permanent Guest Conductor and Consultant to almost every major Orchestra throughout the world. His recorded output is vast and with every major label in the world and has been recipient of countless awards and accolades for his work from the press as well as the audience. Maazel died in 2014.
Leon Fleisher made his piano solo debut at age 8 and went on to a stellar career that has also included Conducting various orchestras, as a result of a neurological condition known as Focal Dystonia, which left Fleisher unable to use his right hand, beginning in 1964. As a result, he devoted much of his time exploring and performing works written for the left hand (which this Prokofiev Concerto was one of them). It wasn’t until the 1990s that, by way of a series of injections, Fleisher was able to resume playing with both hands. Since then he has continued to perform, primarily as a conductor, but is also heavily involved in teaching. At 89, he’s still going strong.
Crank it up, sit back and relax – you’ve survived Wednesday – you need a break.
And while you’re doing that, please consider chipping what you can to help keep Past Daily up and running during our annual Past Daily Fall Fundraiser. Not asking for much, just a cup of coffee’s worth or the price of a movie ticket, but it helps us out enormously and pays a lot of bills and repairs ancient equipment so we can continue preserving and restoring these thousands of hours of rare history and music. So . . .if you don’t mind – click on the link here: (Past Daily’s Fall Fundraiser) and kick in what you can. We are beyond grateful for all your support so far – we have a little more ways to go. We can do it.