In a statement on his Facebook page, he explains that “most of all, this decision came simply because it feels like the right time,” and that “While I will be turning 83 in about a month and the aging body does present certain unavoidable challenges, I am very grateful to be in the shape I am in at the present time.”
Lewis has been performing since he was a teenager. His last public appearance will be a free farewell concert in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, on September 1.
Despite the announcement, Lewis has specified that he will continue playing music, only not in a public professional setting: “As I write this, I am looking at the sheet music of the works of J.s. Bach, Beethoven, and Chick Corea sitting on my piano that I cannot wait to dive into. Playing the piano, which has brought me great joy and allowed me to create artistic expression across the entire emotional spectrum, will be as much a part of my life as it always has been.”