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Biography

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 45 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 celebrated 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 that special season, Mr. Watts performed 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 and Milwaukee symphonies. During the 07/08 season, he makes an eleven city tour of the East Coast with the Bergen Philharmonic which includes a concert at Carnegie Hall and a recital tour to Japan.

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; a Carnegie Hall appearance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; and a European tour with the Baltimore Symphony.

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. Mr. Watts' most recent television appearances are with the Philadelphia Orchestra on the occasion of the orchestra's 100th Anniversary Gala and a performance of the Brahms Concerto No.2 with the Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz conducting, for PBS.

Mr. Watts' extensive discography includes recordings of works by Gershwin, Chopin, Liszt and Tchaikovsky for CBS Masterworks; recital CD's of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Chopin for Angel/EMI; and recordings featuring the concertos of Liszt, MacDowell, Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saens on the Telarc label. He is also included in the Great Pianists of the 20th Century series for Philips.

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, 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.

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