Baltimore philanthropists Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker have donated $1 million to establish the Leon Fleisher Studio Scholarship Fund at Peabody, which is designated to support students studying with renowned pianist and faculty artist Leon Fleisher.
“Leon Fleisher is, quite simply, one of the great musicians of our time,” said Meyerhoff. “He attracts stellar pianistic talents to the Peabody Institute from all over the world. Rheda and I are delighted to make this gift to the Leon Fleisher Studio Fund, affording the opportunity for extraordinary young artists to study with Maestro Fleisher.”
“I am inexpressibly touched by the faith and generosity of both Bob and Rheda,” said Fleisher, a member of the Peabody faculty since 1959. “It is an enormous responsibility, and I will do everything that I can to prove worthy of their confidence.”
Among the more successful students Fleisher has taught at Peabody are André Watts, Nelita True, Peter Takács, Julian Martin, Alon Goldstein, Stephen Prutsman, Adam Golka, Yury Shadrin, Phillip Bush, Thomas Hecht, Enrico Elisi, and Sandra Shapiro.
Meyerhoff and Becker have already given $1 million to a different scholarship, the Leon Fleisher Scholars Fund. This endowment for undergraduate piano scholarships was established in 2009 in celebration of Fleisher’s 50th anniversary teaching at the Conservatory. At the request of Maestro Fleisher, under-graduates studying with any of the Conservatory piano faculty artists are eligible for the Leon Fleisher Scholars Fund.
As a result of their latest $1 million contribution, the couple has committed more than $2 million in the past five years to Peabody scholarships. “With its current capital campaign, Peabody is strengthening its ability to attract the most gifted young artists and provide a level of training that prepares them for important careers in a cultural environment that is evolving at breakneck speed,” said Fred Bronstein, dean of the Peabody Institute. “Bob and Rheda’s generous support for scholarships at Peabody strengthens the very future of classical music by investing in artists who will define that future, and at the same time honors Leon Fleisher, an iconic figure in the musical world. We are deeply indebted to Bob and Rheda for their support.”
The gift is part of Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins, an effort to raise $4.5 billion, primarily to support students, research, and discovery, and interdisciplinary solutions to some of humanity’s most important problems. The campaign began its quiet phase in January 2010, was publicly launched in May 2013, and is targeted for completion in 2017.
— Christine Stutz