HOUSTON - A 97-year-old piano “super-virtuoso” with Houston ties had an unlikely encore this week.

Abbey Simon returned to the stage a year after nearly losing his most important instruments, his hands.

“I’ve been playing piano since I was three years old,” said Simon. “That’s a long time.”

Simon thought he’d never play again after being severely injured in a car accident on Valentine's Day last year.

“I mean, the idea of never playing again, it’s just unbelievable,” said Simon.

The crash shattered his hands and broke one of his wrists. Agonizing physical therapy followed and that’s where we first met him.

“And there is still a metal plate installed here,” said Simon as he pointed to his wrist.

On the very stage where we met Simon again, he made a triumphant comeback Thursday night.

He performed during the University of Houston School of Music’s International Piano Festival that he founded more than 30 years ago.

Abbey Simon has played piano in the greatest concert halls around the world. But right now, the 97-year-old would settle for a renewed moment of freedom in front of any piano.

It’s been a long time since he said he’s been so nervous before a concert. "I was a wreck." he said.

But his encore was likely the first of many for a man never more passionate about the piano.

“I love it,” said Simon. “And I hope to continue it forever.”

Simon splits his time between Houston and Geneva, Switzerland.

He plans to spend the summer there practicing the piano with more limited movement in his hands.

Abbey Simon has played piano in the greatest concert halls around the world.