BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Leon Fleisher, a renowned pianist with ties to Baltimore, has died, the Peabody Institute confirmed Sunday evening.
He had worked on the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore’s faculty. The Institute confirmed his death and offered condolences to his family Sunday in a statement on their website.
“With the passing of Leon Fleisher, the music world has lost one of its towering figures. Our hearts go out to Leon’s wife, Katherine, and his family and loved ones. For members of the Peabody family, it is a deeply personal loss. The name of Leon Fleisher has been synonymous with the Peabody Institute for more than six decades, his home since 1959. Leon’s remarkable gifts as a musician, pianist, and teacher, were matched only by his charm, wit, intelligence and warmth as a human being.” said Fred Bronstein, dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
The institute confirmed Fleisher’s death later Sunday. The New York Times reports he was 92 and died at a hospice center in Baltimore.
Fleisher began studying piano when he was just four years old. He made his debut at eight years old and went on to play with the New York Philharmonic at 16.
After one of his hands stopped working, he learned to master the piano with only one hand. He started at Peabody in 1959.
In 2007, he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
“As a member of the Peabody Conservatory faculty, Mr. Fleisher provided inspiration, guidance, and singular insight to hundreds of students over the years both in his piano studio and on the podium. His approach to teaching went as deep as possible – showing young artists how to connect a love of music to the world around them,” Bronstein said.