Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leon Fleisher

This article is about the pianist Leon Fleisher's losing the use of one hand years ago to a condition called, "focal dystonia, a selective neurological disorder related to Parkinson’s disease." After 30 years he got the right diagnosis and botox injections allow him to play with two hands again. Here are two passages from the article that caught my eye.
“We are athletes, but we’re athletes with small muscles. There is a limit. Now you get kids today who can do things with such extraordinary brilliance on the keyboard that they belong in the circus. But it ain’t got nothing to do with music-making.” Practising anything more than five hours a day, Fleisher argues, is not just pointless but actively harmful. “It becomes mindless. And you imprint upon your brain something that is the beginning of the confusions of dystonia.”
His biggest mistake, he felt, was abandoning the principle of his teacher, Schnabel, by aiming for pure virtuosity over vision, tone quality and structure.

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