Sunday, September 26 at 3pm, piano legend Leon Fleisher performs on the stage of Symphony Hall, Boston, as the featured artist in the Terezin Music Foundation (TMF) Annual Gala Concert. Joining Mr. Fleisher will be BSO Principal cellist Jules Eskin, violin virtuoso Michael Ludwig, and TMF Director Mark Ludwig in a performance of the Brahms Piano Quartet in A major, Opus 26.
An additional program highlight is the world premiere of the 2010 TMF Commission, Miroslav Srnka’s “Escape Routines,” performed with BSO principal harpist Jessica Zhou and BSO clarinetist Thomas Martin. Srnka’s numerous awards include the Leos Janacek Anniversary Prize, and his compositions are premiered internationally by leading interpreters. TMF Gala Concert audiences will also hear chamber works by Erwin Schulhoff and Gideon Klein, composers silenced by the Holocaust.
“Our Gala Concert program reflects TMF’s mission,” Mr. Ludwig explains, “to celebrate the resilience of the creative spirit; our inspiration is the artists who wrote music inside the Terezin Concentration Camp, and we honor their legacy by sponsoring new commissions by emerging composers, performed in the world’s great venues by artists of international stature.”
Fleisher is a poignant choice for TMF: his musicianship is the stuff of legend, and his story is both tragic and life-affirming. Fleisher was well on his way to conquering the music world at age sixteen, hailed as “the pianistic find of the century” by the great conductor Pierre Monteux. He was sidelined at age thirty-seven by a rare neurological disease that cost him the use of his right hand. For nearly forty years he searched for a cure while continuing to create extraordinary music, performing the left-hand repertoire and conducting.
Botulinum and other treatments finally restored the mobility in Fleisher’s right hand, and he made a triumphant return to the full piano repertoire in 2004 with the widely acclaimed recording “Two Hands.” His performances continue to inspire the highest praise; as Anthony Tommasini wrote in a New York Times review, “It was his pianism, not just his courage, that deserved the long ovation he received.”
Also on the program is presentation of the 2010 Terezin Legacy Award to Robert J. Mayer, M.D. of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, in honor of his commitment to the arts and to Holocaust education. The 2010 TMF Commission by Srnka will be dedicated to Dr. Mayer, and he will receive an award sculpted for the occasion by celebrated glass artist Steven Weinberg.
The TMF Gala Concert includes a cocktail reception with the artists in Symphony Hall’s Higginson Ballroom. Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased by calling 857-222-TCMF (8262) or writing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terezin Music Foundation (www.terezinmusic.org) is a nonprofit organization. Ongoing TMF commission projects include collaborations with Dawn Upshaw, Simone Dinnerstein, Garrick Ohlsson, composer Nico Muhly and the Prague Spring Festival.