Leon Bates thought maybe it was the coffee.
“In the beginning, I didn’t even notice — other people noticed it,” he said of the tremors in his hands. As a busy pianist, he explained, he would drink coffee to get through rehearsals and concerts, “so I thought it was catching up with me, and I kind of blew it off as that.”
But his balance and memory were giving him trouble, too, and what Bates thought was too much caffeine led to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. The distinguished pianist — born and trained in Philadelphia, and a worldwide presence for decades — has announced that he is retiring from the concert stage.
The Leon Bates concert long planned for Dec. 9 will now be a performance played for him rather than by him. The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Bates, and his longtime manager, Joanne Rile, have remade the program, and he will be serenaded in solo, vocal, and chamber works by many of his collaborators.
Read the full article on the Philadelphia Inquirer website…