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February 27, 2012

Leon Fleisher Scholars Fund gets $1 million from Robert Meyerhoff, Rheda Becker

Baltimore philanthropists Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker pledged  $750,000 Monday to the Leon Fleisher Scholars Fund for piano students at the Peabody Conservatory.

This gift, to be paid over the next few years, will bring the total contribution from Meyerhoff and Becker to $1 million by 2016.

The couple launched the endowed scholarship fund, named for the famed pianist and 53-year veteran of the Peabody faculty, with a $250,000 donation in 2009.

“We hope this gift will raise the profile of Peabody and help the school compete with other top conservatories for the very best piano students worldwide,” said Meyerhoff in a statement released Monday.

Fleisher, who in recent years resumed limited two-hand performances after focal dystonia prevented the use of his right hand for several decades, had high praised for the donors.

“When strewing her seeds of talent among the young, ...

Mother Nature is quite deaf and blind to socio-economic levels, which renders this gift of such epic generosity all the more meaningful, pertinent and powerful,” the pianist said.

Since the Fleisher Scholars Fund was established, 85 other donors have contributed about $234,000. It is expected that the fund will provide two full-time scholarships each year.

The Meyerhoff-Becker gift will be publicly celebrated at a concert by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra Tuesday night. Fleisher, who built a successful career as a conductor after the onset of the right-hand damage, will lead the ensemble in an all-Brahms program.

A Fleisher student, Yuri Shadrin, winner of the 2011 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition, will be the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the works Fleisher owned in his keyboard prime. Symphony No. 3 rounds out the concert.


Posted by Tim Smith at 5:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Peabody Institute

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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