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Internationally Acclaimed Pianist Gives Thanks to the National Institutes of Health for Innovative Treatment That Enabled His Comeback

For release: Friday, November 12, 2004

Maestro Leon Fleisher, one of the world's most renowned classical pianists and three-time Grammy-nominee, will perform selections from his critically acclaimed new CD "Two Hands" at a pre-Thanksgiving event at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

More than 40 years ago, at the height of his career, Mr. Fleisher lost the use of his right hand to dystonia, the third most common neurological movement disorder after Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. He could no longer play the piano with both hands, and turned to teaching, conducting, and playing one-handed repertoires. The frequently misdiagnosed disorder severely impeded his performance of everyday tasks. About 10 years ago, physicians at the NIH were able to diagnose the problem as a focal dystonia and start him on a therapy which helped to reverse the condition.

At the event, Mr. Fleisher will perform and also discuss his years of suffering from dystonia, his eventual diagnosis and treatment at the NIH, and his recent comeback to two-handed performance. The audience will include patients who will be relocating in early December to the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

Masur Auditorium
NIH Clinical Center, Building 10
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 4:30 p.m.

Story C. Landis, Ph.D., Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Mark Hallett, M.D., Chief, Human Motor Control Section, NINDS, leading physician in Mr. Fleisher's care
John I. Gallin, M.D., Director, NIH Clinical Center

Margo Warren, Office of Communications and Public Liaison, NINDS, 301-496-5751
Edie Elkinson, Chandler Chicco Agency, (310) 309-1004 or (310) 430-6838

To view a video of the performance and Mr. Fleisher's remarks, click this link:

Last Modified August 7, 2009