André Watts burst upon the music world at the age of 16 when Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic in their Young People's Concerts, broadcast nationwide on CBS-TV. Only two weeks later, Bernstein asked him to substitute at the last minute for the ailing Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt's E-flat Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, thus launching his career in storybook fashion. More than 40 years later, André Watts remains one of today's most celebrated and beloved superstars. His performances each year with the world's great orchestras and conductors and his sold-out recitals and appearances at the most prestigious international festivals bring him to every corner of the globe.
During the 06/07 season, Mr. Watts celebrates his 60th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his debut (with the Philadelphia Orchestra). In honor of this milestone and his numerous achievements and contributions to the world of classical music, he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in June, 2006. During this special season, Mr. Watts performs with many of the American orchestras with which he has had close relationships for many years including the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Atlanta, St. Louis, National, Indianapolis, Seattle, Milwaukee, Colorado and New Jersey symphonies. He also appears in recital throughout the country including at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Orchestra Hall in Detroit under the auspices of the Chicago and Detroit symphonies.
In addition to his regular visits to the major summer music festivals including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saratoga, the Mann Music Center, Mostly Mozart and the Hollywood Bowl, André Watts' recent engagements include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Dallas and Cincinnati symphonies; a tour with the Israel Philharmonic with performances in Boston, Chicago and Atlanta; recitals at New York's Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center and Disney Hall in Los Angeles; a Carnegie Hall appearance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; a European tour with the Baltimore Symphony; and an appearance at the Proms in London.
Mr. Watts has had a long and frequent association with television, having appeared on numerous programs produced by PBS, the BBC and the Arts and Entertainment Network, performing with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center among others. His 1976 New York recital, aired on the program Live From Lincoln Center, was the first full length recital broadcast in the history of television and his performance at the 38th Casals Festival in Puerto Rico was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cultural Programming. His most recent television appearances are with the Philadelphia Orchestra on the occasion of the orchestra's 100th Anniversary Gala, a program broadcast nationwide as well as throughout Europe and Asia, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
André Watts' most recent recording release features both Liszt piano concertos and MacDowell's Concerto No. 2 with the Dallas Symphony led by Andrew Litton for Telarc. This followed his critically acclaimed recording of Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 and Saint-Saëns' Concerto No. 2 with the Atlanta Symphony conducted by Yoel Levi for the same label. Additionally, his discography of solo recordings includes The Chopin Recital (named CD of the month by Stereo Review) and The Schubert Recital, both on the Angel/EMI label. He is also included in the Great Pianists of the 20th Century series for Philips and has numerous recordings for SONY Classical and CBS Masterworks.
A much-honored artist who has played before royalty in Europe and heads of government in nations all over the world, André Watts was selected to receive the Avery Fisher Prize in 1988. At age 26 he was the youngest person ever to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Yale University and he has since received numerous such honors from highly respected schools including the University of Pennsylvania, Miami University of Ohio, Albright College, Brandeis University, Trinity College and The Juilliard School of Music. In 1984 his Alma Mater, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, honored Mr. Watts with its Distinguished Alumni Award and in May 1997, Peabody again recognized his accomplishments by presenting him with an Honorary Doctorate degree. Previously Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland, Mr. Watts was appointed to the newly created Jack I. and Dora B. Hamlin Endowed Chair in Music at Indiana University in May, 2004.
Posted Aug. 2006