The African American pianist André Watts will take part in three events during the Gilmore Keyboard Festival in West Michigan, beginning with a Master Class at 9:30 am Thursday, May 8 in the Little Theatre on the Western Michigan University East Campus in Kalamazoo. The event is free and open to the public. André will join the Grand Rapids Symphony and David Lockington, Conductor, for two concerts in the De Vos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, at 8:00 pm Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10, 2008. For tickets, which range from $16 to $60, call 616.454.9451, ext. 4. Both concerts feature Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole; Grieg: Piano Concerto; and Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2.
André Watts was the son of an African American soldier and a Hungarian woman. His parents raised him in Europe until the age of 8. Here is an excerpt from his Biography, from The Gilmore Festival:
“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. Full Biography
African American Pianist
Gilmore Keyboard Festival
West Michigan Piano Festival
Grand Rapids Symphony
Conductor David Livington