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Leon Fleisher Leon Fleisher

Kevin Morrow

Local audiences will have numerous opportunities to see, hear and enjoy legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher when he visits Syracuse University for a series of events from Sept. 29-Oct. 2.

Fleisher launches the 2015-16 University Lectures series on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel in an event co-sponsored by SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. He will perform a selection or two from his vast repertoire and then engage in a moderated conversation with Ralph Zito, chair of VPA’s Department of Drama. The event is free and open to the public. American Sign Language interpretation and Communication Access Real Time will be available.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m., Fleisher will conduct a master class for piano students in VPA’s Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music. Additionally, on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m., he will conduct a chamber music master class for Setnor students. Both events will take place in Crouse College’s Setnor Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

Then on Friday, Oct. 2, Fleisher will join the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra as guest conductor for an 8 p.m. performance in Setnor Auditorium. The program will include Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, with Setnor Professor Steven Heyman, piano; and the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor with Setnor Professor Fred Karpoff, piano. Tickets for the concert—$10 for the general public and free for SU students with a valid SU I.D.—are available at the Schine Box Office. The concert will be streamed live.

All three events in the Setnor School are presented as part of the Baker Artist Series. Founded in 2013 with a grant from the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation, the Baker Artists Program allows the Setnor School to offer a more robust on-campus residency program and provides support for music majors to take master classes and attend workshops and performances in major music cities.

About Leon Fleisher

As master pianist and conductor, celebrated teacher and gifted lecturer, legendary artist Leon Fleisher has left an indelible mark in the worldwide music community. Currently on faculty at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and Glenn Gould School in Toronto, Fleisher has fostered the talents of many great artists, including Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman, Alon Goldstein, Louie Lortie and André Watts.

He continues to impart his life-affirming artistry throughout the world, from his acclaimed Carnegie Hall workshops to master classes last summer at the Schleswig Holstein and Menuhin Festivals to residencies at music schools and conservatories across the United States.

An inspiring conductor, Fleisher recently closed the Marlboro Music Festival. And he is leading orchestras in China and Japan this fall.

Fleisher began playing at age 4, at which time his parents pulled him from school, opting for private tutoring to allow more practice time (“I’ve long thought of entitling my biography ‘I Was a Kindergarten Dropout,’” he jokes). Fleisher’s most recent recording, 2014’s “All the Things You Are,” reached No. 1 on the classical charts and earned a 2015 Grammy nomination. He was the subject of the 2006 Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentary “Two Hands.”

2015-16 University Lectures

Following Fleisher’s Sept. 29 University Lectures appearance, three other events are planned for the fall semester and four during the spring semester to complete the 2015-16 University Lectures season. All take place in Hendricks Chapel.

Coming up this fall:

  • SU alumna and best-selling author (“Tiny Beautiful Things,” “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) Cheryl Strayed ’02 will speak about her writings and the power of memoir on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m.
  • New York Times op-ed columnists Charles Blow and Ross Douthat will take part in a discussion on social inequality moderated by SU alumnus and current SU Law student Jesse Feitel ’13 on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the landmark 2014 book “This Changes Everything” Naomi Klein will speak on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Next spring:

  • Social scientist Dacher Keltner, director of the Social Interaction Lab at the University of California at Berkeley, will discuss the science of awe and beauty on Tuesday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer (MLS) and CEO of Soccer United Marketing, will speak on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Mary Roach, author of multiple New York Times bestsellers (“Gulp,” “Spook,” “Bonk,” “Packing for Mars”), will join SU biology professor Sandra Hewett for an informal conversational dialogue on Tuesday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, the creators and executive producers of the hit podcast “Serial,” will offer personal behind-the-scenes stories about the first season of “Serial” and offer thoughts on the second season on Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m.

University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment. The series is supported by the generosity of Honorary Trustee Robert B. Menschel ’51. The lectures are free and open to the public.

The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. To recommend a speaker, or to obtain additional information about the University Lectures series, contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 315-443-2941 or More information can be found on the series’ website and on Facebook.