WFIU’s Featured Artist for the month of June is André Watts.
It was apparent at an early age that André Watts was prodigious talent. At the age of 8, he began piano studies at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. One year later he performed Haydn’s Concerto in D with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Watts had his formal introduction to the international stage in 1963, when at the age of 16, Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic. The concert took place as one of the ensemble’s Young People’s Concerts, which was broadcast nationwide. An additional performance with Bernstein occurred two weeks later, when Watts served as a last minute replacement for an ailing Glenn Gould. After this performance, Watts’s career was launched.
A musician of international acclaim, pianist André Watts continues to give sold-out recitals and performances with many of the world’s great orchestras and conductors. He makes regular visits to the major summer music festivals, including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saratoga, the Mann Music Center, Mostly Mozart and the Hollywood Bowl.
Watts has made frequent television appearances, performing with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His 1976 New York recital, which 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.
A much-honored artist, André Watts is a 2014 inductee in the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. He received a 2011 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and art patrons by the United States government. In June 2006, Watts was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl of Fame and was also the recipient of the 1988 Avery Fisher Prize. 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 schools including the University of Pennsylvania, Brandeis University, The Juilliard School of Music and the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.
Previously Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland, André Watts was appointed to the Jack I. and Dora B. Hamlin Endowed Chair in Music at Indiana University in May, 2004.
WFIU will feature performances by André Watts in our music programming throughout the month of June.