Watts Plays Beethoven
Carl St.Clair, conductor
André Watts, piano
Preview Talk at 7 p.m. with host Alan Chapman. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
Considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century and a perennial favorite guest of Pacific Symphony, André Watts returns to the stage with one of Beethoven’s most beloved works – the "Emperor Concerto." A work prized for its serene and tender second movement, Beethoven’s last piano concerto is a testament to the composer’s emotional range. Shostakovich complements the evening with his intense 10th Symphony.
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Whether or not we believe Shostakovich’s alleged statement that the Symphony No. 10 is “about Stalin and the Stalin years,” this is clearly a work with bleak, dark and violent things on its mind. The initials of the composer’s name become a theme (as do those of a lover) that seems victorious at the end, but an ambiguity remains. Note the many meandering solos for the woodwinds — as dire a picture of loneliness and isolation as any in music.
Learn more about the music and artists in the program notes.
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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 50 years later, André Watts remains one of today's most celebrated and beloved superstars.
A perennial favorite with orchestras throughout the U.S., Watts is also a regular guest at the major summer music festivals including Ravinia, the Hollywood Bowl, Saratoga and Tanglewood. Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and on tour, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Seattle and National symphonies among others. In celebration of the Liszt anniversary in 2011, Watts played all-Liszt recitals throughout the U.S., while recent and upcoming international engagements include concerto and recital appearances in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany and Spain.
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. 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.