My Nine Lives by Leon Fleisher
A Memoir of Many Careers in Music

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Leon Fleisher

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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. A Yale graduate, ANNE MIDGETTE reviewed classical music for the New York Times before becoming chief classical music critic for the Washington Post.
 
Published November 30, 2010 by Doubleday. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Nine Lives

Kirkus Reviews

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The legendary American pianist recounts the many stages of his storied career.

Nov 16 2010 | Read Full Review of My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Ma...

Publishers Weekly

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Pianist Fleisher played the Brahms D Minor concerto at his debut with the New York Philharmonic when he was 16 years old. A brilliant career seemed assured. But at the age of 36, Fleisher lost the use

Oct 18 2010 | Read Full Review of My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Ma...

Publishers Weekly

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Pianist Fleisher played the Brahms D Minor concerto at his debut with the New York Philharmonic when he was 16 years old.

Oct 18 2010 | Read Full Review of My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Ma...

The Washington Post

Classical music - Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert - should be played as if you're a part of the universe: man finds his proper place in the cosmos.

Dec 03 2010 | Read Full Review of My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Ma...

Arts Fuse

“So in the family tree of teacher-student relationships,” Fleisher tells us, “I am in a line going back to Beethoven.” Fleisher provides interesting glimpses of Schnabel’s bucolic music colony, his gentle teaching style, his family, the piano students to whom he gave group lessons, and his influ...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Ma...

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