Art Works Blog

Art Works Podcast: Andre Watts

Meet legendary pianist and 2011 National Medal of Arts recipient André Watts. The son of a Hungarian pianist and an African-American soldier, Watts spent his early childhood in Europe before his family moved to Philadelphia. He is a brilliant classical pianist, and for almost 45 years, he has been a perennial favorite with  audiences, orchestras, and conductors around the world. Celebrated for his superb technique, passionate intensity, and wide-ranging repertoire, Watts is equally at home on a stage, in a studio, or in front of a camera.

Watts began studying the piano when he was six, and burst upon the music world at age 16 when he made his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in their Young People's Concert. Two weeks later, Bernstein invited him back to the Philharmonic to substitute when the scheduled pianist, Glen Gould, canceled. Watts played Liszt’s Piano Concerto #1 in E-flat and wowed the audience as well as the orchestra.

Excerpt from Piano Concerto #1 In E-flat, composed by Franz Liszt and performed by André Watts with the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Leonard Bernstein, used courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment.

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