Pianist Leon Fleisher
A most remarkable life, a story for you and your children
Pianist and Professor Leon Fleisher was a true hero of mine. He was at the pinnacle of his concert career as one of the world’s greatest pianists when his right hand deteriorated from neurological complications. For decades he could not play the piano with both hands.
As a youth, I watched Mr. Fleisher continue through the storms of great disappointment. He tried every treatment known to the medical community to bring back the use of his right hand. In the face of this disaster in his life, he continued to bring music to everyone. He learned Left Hand compositions, coached, taught, conducted, and inspired generations of professional musicians. He inspired everyone with his indomitable spirit and adaptability.
Then, one day, after decades, his right hand began to function again. It was a medical miracle that took over 40 years to happen.
On his first CD album with Two Hands, Mr. Fleisher played sublime works, including Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven. His performance deeply touched me. This week, I will be sharing the story of his remarkable journey with my students. This man never gave up and did not exhibit resentment or despair in public. He lived a full life and simply brought music anyway to make the world a better place.
Mr. Fleisher and Mr. Beethoven lived courageously with unbelievable obstacles. Mr. Fleisher lost his solo piano career in an agonizing medical tragedy. Mr. Beethoven lost his hearing when he was a young man. He struggled mightily to compose the beautiful and powerful music that inspires us all. Though he could not “hear” his music from permanent hearing loss, the sounds of the great masterpieces resonated in his mind and soul. His compositions continue to inspire the world to this day 200+ years later. These two great musicians followed unexpected paths after their tragic circumstances. By their choices, they exemplified how to persevere and thrive against all odds.
There are hundreds of millions of people who have been subjected to hardships that have changed the trajectory of their lives. These millions, unheralded and unnoticed, are heroes as they arise out of chaos and loss. They exemplify hope and gratitude for better days ahead.
Courageous souls of all ages, famous people as well as those obscure or unknown to the public,-- are the essential bearers of hope for this time during COVID and its aftermath. Those who are little-known or invisible live their courage every day. They arise in faith that this day will be better than the last. In the midst of collapse of their health, livelihood, dreams, futures, financial security, and the world as they have known it, those who speak peace and hope, even optimism and gratitude for life’s opportunities ahead are jewels of great worth. These gifted beings embrace others with kindness, respect, humility, tenderness, and humor. They raise up others as they themselves are tryIng to find their footing. These people bring hope for the entire world one step at a time. Without thought of attaining “success” in a world clamoring for status, they stand by friends and strangers alike of all races, nationalities, ages, creeds, and professions. When their neighbor or colleague or family member or small business owner or child or acquaintance cannot take a step on his or her own, they continue to reach out to help--without hesitation. These are true heroes.
To all Tacy Foundation volunteers and families: you are my brave-hearts, my heroes!
We and our children need to hear these stories of courage, perseverance, and hope. Share your stories of difficulty and courage, and victory over fear of the unknown. Your parents’ and grandparents’ stories matter. Speak of a friend or neighbor who graced you with the presence of hope and kindness at a time when you especially needed encouragement.
I think of these stories as jewels. The people who speak hope are treasures among us. Like precious pearls—(priceless, beautiful gems that are formed in the oyster shell by irritation over the oyster's lifetime), we all are forming pearls from irritation and difficulty. If we could string all the pearls from everyone’s life stories of courage and resilience, the pearl necklace would circle the earth and reach up to the heavens......and back.
With outstretched heart and hands, I thank you for your messages of hope on The Tacy Foundation YouTube Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLP79LRuvZ1YLOn_f1l3o9LRSeuo6QAQ9y
Stay tuned for next week's Newsletter featuring more Amazing Rising Seniors!
Charlotte Holliday. Founder
Matthew Scott, Newsletter Editor
Anika Seth, Communications Chief Intern
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