It’s the lack of balance and slow movements in pianist Lucien Leinfelder’s hands that are noticed as he slides himself from his walker to the bench. But when he lifts his hands to play, the shaking stops and the music takes over.
The small crowd that has gathered to watch the former concert pianist play doesn’t notice that Leinfelder suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
Diagnosed at 60, now 81, he still has the power to transform a room. As a young Dallas prodigy, he won piano competitions, and went on to complete his teaching preparation at SMU. That training launched his talent and he studied at Juilliard in New York. He received critical acclaim and played concerts throughout the United States, in Puerto Rico, South America and Europe.
The New York Times described Leinfelder’s playing as “Brilliant.” He appeared with Phyllis Diller, Pearl Bailey and Lawrence Welk. Coming home, he taught piano at the University of Dallas, Ursuline Academy, and performed as a soloist with the Dallas Symphony.
“It’s all the hours of practicing and performing that built his muscle memory,” says Dr. Anna Tseng, his neurologist on staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She encouraged him to perform beyond his living room and share his gift with others.
Leinfelder agreed. “I want to keep doing what I do best – playing a grand piano for an audience.” His repertoire is extensive, with arrangements from classical masterpieces to Broadway showpieces. There’s something for everyone.
His long fingers move fluidly and listening to him play is unforgettable. This musicality comes from a man whose life centers on two-hour windows when the medication helps stop his shaking.
Hear Leinfelder perform in the main lobby of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas at 11 a.m. on Mondays. You can’t miss him – he’s the man with the walker, dressed in black and white to match the keyboard.
To learn more about the treatment of movement disorders, visit TexasHealth.org/MovementDisordersDallas.
Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.