World renowned pianists to present recital in Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2003

The Albert Lea High School music program will benefit from a recital by two world renowned concert pianists on Sunday, April 27.

Leon Fleisher and Katherine Jacobson will present a benefit piano recital at 2:30 p.m. that day in the Albert Lea High School auditorium. Jacobson, a graduate of ALHS, and her husband, Fleisher, are dedicating the concert in honor of the 80th birthday of Claire Jacobson, Katherine’s mother, and the 60th wedding anniversary of her parents, Don and Claire Jacobson, who have lived in Albert Lea for over 50 years. All proceeds from the recital will go to the Albert Lea High School music program.

Leon Fleisher has had an illustrious career as a concert pianist beginning at age 16 with his debut with the New York Philharmonic. Regular appearances with orchestras and recitals on the world’s great concert stages followed along with several great masterpiece recordings in collaboration with George Szell. Midway through the 1964-65 season, Fleisher’s career was interrupted by the onset of repetitive stress syndrome affecting his right hand. During the next decades he worked as a teacher, conductor, and as a performer of left-hand alone literature. In 1995, with the Cleveland Orchestra, Fleisher played once again successfully with both hands, and now performs both the left-handed repertoire and select works for both hands. He is the holder of the Andrew W. Mellon chair at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and also serves on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 2000, Fleisher became the first living pianist to be inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame.

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Katherine Jacobson began studying the piano with Sadie Bliss Cox at the age of 6. She gave her first piano recital at age 12 in Albert Lea’s First Lutheran Church. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelor of music degree. At the urging of her teacher at St. Olaf, Margaret Birkeland, Jacobson attended The Cleveland Institute of Music where she was a student of the renowned piano duo, Vronsky and Babin. After receiving her

master of music degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music, she did advanced piano study with Leon Fleisher at The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Orchestras with which she has appeared include the Baltimore Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, Annapolis Symphony, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Royal Conservatory Orchestra in Toronto, and the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Portugal. Jacobson has given concerts throughout the United States, Europe and Canada and is a regular performer at the Aspen Summer Music Festival. In 1977, the piano duo of Jacobson and Enrique Graf were awarded first prize in the National Piano Ensemble Competition. This summer will mark her debut with the Aspen Chamber Symphony in the Mozart Double Piano Concerto as well as Mozart’s Triple Piano Concerto.

Jacobson and her husband, Fleisher, live in Baltimore where she is also on the piano ensemble faculty of The Peabody Conservatory of Music.

The April 27 recital will feature several solo pieces by both Fleisher and Jacobson, including &uot;Impromptu in G flat Major&uot; and &uot;Impromptu in E flat Major &uot;by Franz Schubert and &uot;Etudes in A flat Major, f minor, and c minor&uot; and &uot;Ballade in F Major&uot; by Chopin. They will also perform duets by Mozart and Schubert. There will be a reception following the program to meet the artists and the honorees.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students and are available at all Andersen Hallmark Stores and Hy-Vee in Albert Lea. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the concert. Doors will open at 2 p.m.