Pianist AndrÃ© Watts Performs At Denison University Vail Series
Posted: March 21, 2005
Watts burst upon the music world at age 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. More than 40 years later, Watts remains one of today's most celebrated and beloved superstars. His performances each year with the world's greatest orchestras and conductors and his sold-out recitals and appearance at the most prestigious international festivals take him to every corner of the globe.
In addition to his regular visits to the major summer music festivals including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Mostly Mozart and the Hollywood Bowl, Watts' recent engagements include appearances with the Chicago, Pittsburgh, National, Detroit and Dallas symphonies; a Florida tour with the Atlanta Symphony; recitals at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center; a European tour with the Baltimore Symphony; and an appearance at the Proms in London.
Watts also 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. 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.
Watts' latest recording release features both Liszt piano concertos and MacDowell's Concerto No. 2 with the Dallas Symphony, led by Andre Litton, on the Telarc label. This followed his critically acclaimed debut disc for Telarc which included Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 and Saint-SaÃ«ns' Concerto No. 2 with the Atlanta Symphony, conducted by Yoel Levi. Additionally, his discography of solo recordings includes "The Chopin Recital," which was named CD of the month by Stereo Review and "The Schubert Recital." He is also included in the "Great Pianists of the 20th Century" series.
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 honors from highly respected schools including Miami University of Ohio, Trinity College and The Julliard School of Music. In 1984, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater, honored Watts with its Distinguished Alumni Award and in May 1997 with an honorary doctorate degree. He has been Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland since the 2000-2001 season.
Saturday night's performance will include Josef Haydn's "Sonata No. 58 in C Major," Mozart's "Rondo in D Major" and "Rondo in A minor," and Franz Schubert's "Drei KlavierstÃ¼cke" on the first half of the program. Following intermission, Watts will perform two parts of Maurice Ravel's "Miroirs," five movements from Gyorgy Ligeti's "Musica ricercata," and four works by Franz Liszt, including the "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 in A minor."
The Vail Series was founded in 1979, when Foster and Mary McGaw made an extraordinary gift to Denison University in memory of Mrs. McGaw's daughter, Jeanne Vail, a 1946 alumna. That bequest became Denison's distinguished Vail Program in the Arts, making possible not only the Vail Series, but also a wide range of artistic presentations, which have greatly expanded opportunities and experiences for students and the larger community. Through the organizing and generous support of Jeanne Vail's brother, the late James D. Vail III, his wife, Margaret, and sons James IV and John, the Vail Program continues to reflect this family's commitment to Denison University and the arts.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- The Vail Series concludes its 25th season with a performance by pianist AndrÃ© Watts; 8 p.m., Saturday (April 2) in Swasey Chapel. A limited number of tickets may be available for the public for $15 each. For ticket availability, call the Vail Hotline at (740) 587-6557.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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