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My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Musicby Leon Fleisher
Synopses & Reviews
The stirring memoir of one of the greatest pianists of the postwar era—an inspiring tale of triumph over crippling incapacity that rivals Shine.
The pianist Leon Fleisher—whose student–teacher lineage linked him to Beethoven by way of his instructor, Artur Schnabel—displayed an exceptional gift from his earliest years. And then, like the hero of a Greek tragedy, he was struck down in his prime: at thirty-six years old, he suddenly and mysteriously became unable to use two fingers of his right hand.
It is not just Fleisher’s thirty-year search for a cure that drives this remarkable memoir. With his coauthor, celebrated music critic Anne Midgette, the pianist explores the depression that engulfed him as his condition worsened and, perhaps most powerfully of all, the sheer love of music that rescued him from complete self-destruction.
Miraculously, at the age of sixty-six, Fleisher was diagnosed with focal dystonia, and cured by experimental Botox injections. In 2003, he returned to Carnegie Hall to give his first two-handed recital in over three decades, bringing down the house.
Sad, reflective, but ultimately triumphant, My Nine Lives combines the glamour, pathos, and courage of Fleisher’s life with real musical and intellectual substance. Fleisher embodies the resilience of the human spirit, and his memoir proves that true passion always finds a way.
From the Hardcover edition.
My Nine Lives is a powerful and stirring memoir of one of the greatest pianists of the postwar era—an inspiring tale of courage, compassion, and triumph over outstanding odds.
At the peak of his career, celebrated pianist Leon Fleisher suddenly lost the use of two fingers on his right hand. Miraculously, at the age of sixty-six, he was diagnosed with focal dystonia, and learned to manage it through a combination of physical therapy and experimental Botox injections. In 2003 Fleisher returned to Carnegie Hall to give his first two-handed performance in over three decades and brought down the house.
With his coauthor, celebrated music critic Anne Midgette, Fleisher reveals here for the first time the depression that threatened to engulf him as his condition worsened, and the sheer love of music that rescued him from complete self-destruction.
About the Author
Born in San Francisco, LEON FLEISHER made his Carnegie Hall debut at sixteen. He was Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 1994; the subject of the 2006 Oscar-nominated short documentary Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story; and a 2007 Kennedy Center Honoree. He continues to tour the world on an ambitious performance schedule.
ANNE MIDGETTE is the chief classical musical critic of the Washington Post. A Yale graduate, she was previously a regular reviewer of classical music and theater for the New York Times.
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Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Classical