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Leon Fleisher Opens 103rd Concert Season

August 14, 2013
  • Who: Leon Fleisher with the Austin Symphony
  • When: Friday & Saturday, September 27 & 28, 2013 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Where: Dell Hall - Long Center for the Performing Arts - 701 W. Riversaide Dr.
  • Cost: $19 - $56

Maestro Peter Bay and the ASO invite concertgoers for “Your Night Out” as they open the 103rd season of classical concerts with performances of works by Weber, Prokofiev and Wagner. World-renowned pianist Leon Fleisher returns to the Austin Symphony stage to kick off another full year of classical and pops concerts. Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday, September 27th & 28th in Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. These concerts are proudly sponsored by Wells Fargo.

PROGRAM
Weber – Oberon Overture
Prokofiev – Piano Concerto No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 53
Wagner – Excerpts from The Ring of the Nibelung

Following the playing of our National Anthem, Peter Bay begins the evening with the overture to Anton Weber’s last mature opera, Oberon. Although it was not a successful stage work, owing to an extraordinarily weak libretto, Oberon remains an important document of German romanticism and contains much of Weber’s finest music. The overture has long enjoyed great popularity in the orchestral repertoire.

Pianist Leon Fleisher takes center stage with a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4. According to Austin Symphony performance records, these concerts will be the first time this particular concerto has ever been played by the ASO. One possible reason is that the Fourth Concerto is for left hand only.

Legendary pianist Leon Fleisher represents the highest standard of musicianship and, at 84 years young, he continues to impart his life-affirming artistry throughout the world, thriving in a sustained career as conductor and soloist, recitalist, chamber music artist, and master class mentor. Fleisher made his public debut at age 8 and played with Pierre Monteaux and the New York Philharmonic at age 16. Monteaux famously called him “the pianistic find of the century.” He became one of the few child prodigies to be accepted for study with Artur Schnabel and also studied with Maria Curcio. Fleisher was linked via Schnabel to a tradition that descended directly from Beethoven himself, handed down through Carl Czerny and Theodor Leschetizky. In the 1960s, Fleisher lost the use of his right hand, due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia. Fleisher commenced performing and recording the left-handed repertoire while searching for a cure for his condition. In the early 21st century, Fleisher regained the use of his right hand through a combination of Rolfing and botox injections.

After a brief intermission Maestro Bay and the ASO pay tribute to Richard Wagner in celebration of his bicentennial. The orchestra will perform excerpts from the composer’s monumental work, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), a cycle of four epic operas. Wagner wrote the libretto and music over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874. The four operas that constitute the Ring cycle are, in sequence: Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods).

Tickets for Leon Fleisher with the Austin Symphony range from $19 to $56. Student rush tickets are also available 20 minutes prior to performance for $5 cash and current student ID (subject to availability). Charge tickets online at http://www.austinsymphony.org where you will find seating maps, price options and a wealth of concert information. Tickets are also available at the Austin Symphony Box Office, 11th and Red River or call 476-6064 or 1-888-4-MAESTRO (toll-free).