Reminder to animal lovers: Leon Fleisher, Katherine Jacobson to give BARCS benefit

Leon Fleisher drolly dubs the program “duets for pets” -- a concert to benefit Baltimore Animal and Rescue Care Shelter Inc. The celebrated pianist will be joined by his wife, Katherine Jacobson, an accomplished keyboard artist in her own right, for Friday's fundraiser at the Peabody Institute. 

The two musicians are longtime supporters of BARCS. “We're very impressed with the staff and their deep commitment to giving animals a chance at a new lease on life,” Jacobson says. “The proceeds from this concert will go to medical care for the animals, to help them get ready for adoption.”

Fleisher and Jacobson share their Roland Park house with two dogs and two cats. “In a sense, we recycle,” Fleisher says. “These are rescued animals.”

For their BARCS benefit, the pianists will perform colorful four-hand works, including

Ravel's "La Valse" and a sampling of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, along with “some golden oldies that will be announced from the stage,” Fleisher says.

Adds Jacobson: “We'll take a detour from the predictable concert format. There will be some commentary and even a bit of theatricality. We tried to get our dogs to come onstage, but there will be some lifelike re-creations instead.”

Both pianists will take solo turns during the program. In recent years, new treatments have enabled Fleisher to resume limited playing with both hands; his right has been affected by a focal dystonia for more than 40 years. One of his solo pieces for the benefit is by Bach. “It's what could be titled the environmental anthem,” Fleisher says with a laugh: “Sheep May Safely Graze.”

The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday at Peabody. Ticket info is available here. Fleisher notes that student rush tickets will be available one hour before the event.


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