Renowned pianist Leon Fleisher to join CSO for gala

August 23 15:30 2016 Print This Article

Charleston Symphony Orchestra will open its 2016-2017 season with their “A Night to Remember Gala” on September 10, 2016, featuring a special performance with renowned pianist Leon Fleisher. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc. is co-hosting the elegant 1930’s-themed event at the Gaillard Center, featuring a reception, performance, dinner and auction.

The special performance will feature Fleisher playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. He and his wife, Katherine Jacobson, will perform together Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 7 in F major for two pianos. For the second half of the concert, CSO will perform Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

“There are pianists who play all the notes, and then the rare few that make the piano sound like an entire orchestra,” said Ken Lam, CSO music director. “Leon Fleisher is a living legend. You will not want to miss this rare opportunity to hear him perform Ravel and Mozart with the CSO.”

Recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 and Grammy Award nominee, Fleisher was the first American to win the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in 1952. Twenty years after his debut and at the height of his success, two fingers on Fleisher’s right hand were rendered immobile due to a neurological impairment. It was not until the mid-1990’s when Fleisher was once again able to use his right hand after years of treatment, although he spent the years in between focused on repertoire for the left hand only, conducting and teaching.  The special performance on September 10 will provide patrons a rare opportunity to hear a two-hand concerto.

Following the performance, patrons can continue the celebration with a gala dinner featuring cuisine from Duvall Catering complemented by a full bar. CSO Concertmaster, Yuriy Bekker, will serve as the night’s emcee, and guests will be treated to live performances by the CSO String Quartet. A live auction will feature items including trips to Ireland, Costa Rica and Key West, as well as an in-home concert by the String Quartet, among others.

“The League’s main purpose is to provide the Charleston Symphony Orchestra with financial assistance through fundraising projects like A Night to Remember Gala, and through music education programs and audience development,” said Becky Hilstad, CSOL president. “We are honored to play such an integral role in organizing this year’s gala and supporting the Charleston Symphony Orchestra – a world-class orchestra for a world class city.”

Patrons can purchase tickets to the entire evening or choose to attend the performance or gala only. The gala will kick off at 6 p.m. with a reception and silent auction preview followed by a 7 p.m. performance and 8 p.m. gala dinner with dancing, entertainment and a live auction.

Concert and Gala tickets are available at For more information, visit the CSO box office at 2133 N. Hillside Drive, Charleston, SC, 29407, or call the box office at 843-723-7528, ext. 110.

Photo  |  Courtesy of CSO. Copyright © Eli Turner.