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Andre Watts

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ENTERTAINMENT
June 27, 1997 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The men of the Philadelphia Orchestra dispense with their white jackets on nights as humid as Wednesday's, and Andre Watts came to the Mann Center for the Performing Arts that night also aptly attired for the weather. Despite a cool-looking gauzy dress shirt, the stage lights and outdoor heat took their toll. When he wasn't navigating Brahms' highways and byways, Watts was wiping a perspiring brow. It's possible that external conditions could take some of the blame for Watts' superficial account of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor.
NEWS
June 26, 1992 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The rain stopped barely in time for Andre Watts to blaze his way through a Mendelssohn concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra last night at the Mann Music Center. And blaze was the word for the Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, which at its rondo's end had inspired the packed house to five curtain calls for the pianist. It's a funny piece - not so touching as Mendelssohn's second, noisier, more frivolous and eager to impress. There are stretches that make you think its minor-key kick-up-a-storm passages influenced Chopin's F Minor concerto.
NEWS
February 5, 2002 | By Daniel Webster FOR THE INQUIRER
Andre Watts had planned a program of Chopin and Liszt for his recital Sunday at Verizon Hall, but changed to Beethoven and Chopin. The first would have been an essay on the rise and dominance of pianists and their idiom in the 19th century, but by prefacing Chopin with Beethoven, Watts may have been reminding listeners of music's ability to surmount and adapt in times of apparent crisis. To contemporaries, Beethoven's death in 1827 seemed to mean the end of music. What else could be said, after all?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 1987 | By TOM DI NARDO, Daily News Classical Music Writer
Ralph Shapey is the third of six composers to unveil a Constitutional Commission premiere this year. This new work of Philadelphia-born Shapey (now 66), "Symphonie Concertante," will be performed by the full Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Riccardo Muti, both just back from their tour of Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. The orchestra performed the work yesterday and will again tonight at 8:30 at the Academy of Music. The sinfonia concertante concept, separating a small-ensemble group of soloists from the main orchestra, was common in the classical period, and works especially well with a virtuoso orchestra like this one. Shapey's treatment will undoubtedly teem with his typical complexity, density, and fiercely demanding individuality; philosophically, his work claims to aim at a representation of specific but undefined physical images.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 1, 1995 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Can pianist Andre Watts' public life have begun nearly 40 years ago with the Philadelphia Orchestra? It can and it did, and the pianist has continued to appear with the orchestra in winter and summer seasons. In his appearance Wednesday at the Mann Music Center, Watts showed that even in works that have served him well for many years in summer concerts, he can find something new and challenging. With Carlo Rizzi making his first appearance conducting the orchestra at the Mann center, Watts played the Saint-Saens' Concerto No. 2. It is a perfect summer piece, for its nobility, its lyricism and jauntiness celebrate the resources of the piano and the wit of the pianist.
NEWS
June 25, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Though pianist Andre Watts is one of the most immediately identifiable figures in classical music, even his more devoted admirers could easily have failed a blindfold test at his Wednesday performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 at the Mann Center. Watts' consistent artistic manner in the past is a hallmark of the Van Cliburn generation, which in some quarters carried the belief that you hit a high mark with a great piece of music, then strive to maintain it in subsequent performances (rather than evolving and changing with age)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 2003 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
Conductor Christoph Eschenbach will open and close this weekend's Philadelphia Orchestra program with works by Hector Berlioz, celebrated for the 200th anniversary of his birth this year. The maestro will share the stage with two superb soloists, both audience favorites. Philly has loved pianist Andre Watts since his debut two generations ago, and each return visit is a communion between old friends. He's chosen the sparkling Second Piano Concerto by Camille Saint-Saens, who was one of the most astonishing of all child prodigies.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 28, 1993 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
It's not very often you get to witness the birth of a career. Maybe every couple of decades or so, an unknown fills in for an established artist and the result matches the thrilling risk. And if it does - when a career is launched this way - the moment really does have the mythical splendor of Aphrodite arising from the sea. How many memories go back 30 years - when a teenage Andre Watts launched his career with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic? Or even earlier, when Bernstein thrillingly replaced his mentor, the conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos?
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NEWS
November 16, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The fashion world has long popularized clothes that appear to be turned inside out. Why shouldn't the Philadelphia Orchestra do its own version of that every so often? How could that work? Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 was so significantly reimagined by guest conductor Jakub Hruša that you'd think the prevailing, mellifluous tradition of Wolfgang Sawallisch never existed. The music was a rougher ride but full of incident. Orchestral sonorities that are normally string-dominated shared the sound picture more equally with brass and winds.
NEWS
February 7, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
As Andre Watts nears his 70th birthday (a bit more than two years away), he seems at odds with what he's expected to be and what he's evolving toward as a senior artist. Watts' longtime concerto repertoire doesn't go as well as it once did. And in his recital on Tuesday presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, he played a program full of conceptual unity, though not always trusting the music to carry the day. Three Scarlatti sonatas, Mozart's Rondo in A minor , and Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 10 No. 3 showed composers from distinctively different worlds using the keyboard with similar register contrasts (the delineation of which is a Watts specialty)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 5, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Classical musicians tend to wear their mileage proudly. Conductors supposedly hit their stride at age 60, probably because they no longer care what people think of them, while pianists continue practicing their art without the pitch worries that plague senior violinists. Two opposite maturity scenarios unfolded Friday as the Philadelphia Orchestra revved up for this week's Florida tour with frequent guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, 79, and one of Philadelphia's proudest exports, pianist Andre Watts, 66, in a Beethoven/Hindemith program.
NEWS
June 25, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Though pianist Andre Watts is one of the most immediately identifiable figures in classical music, even his more devoted admirers could easily have failed a blindfold test at his Wednesday performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 at the Mann Center. Watts' consistent artistic manner in the past is a hallmark of the Van Cliburn generation, which in some quarters carried the belief that you hit a high mark with a great piece of music, then strive to maintain it in subsequent performances (rather than evolving and changing with age)
NEWS
November 3, 2009 | By Daniel Webster FOR THE INQUIRER
Europeans felt Beethoven's death meant the end of music, but the evolving piano and a new generation of virtuosos to exploit it so expanded music's horizons that some listeners wondered what Beethoven might have imagined had he had a 9-foot Bechstein at home. Those horizons lighted Sunday's Kimmel Center recital by Andre Watts, who balanced Schubert and Liszt in a thoughtful illustration of the directions music took as the futurists and the multivoiced piano rolled over earlier musical, mechanical and sonic limitations.
NEWS
July 23, 2007 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
You're playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 for the 1,473d time. How can you keep the music alive and fresh - with that just-composed feeling? One way, pianist Andr? Watts and the Philadelphia Orchestra showed Friday night at the Mann, is for soloist and orchestra to lose contact with each other and end up at an important arrival point at different times. It's a rare thing to hear in a big, professional orchestra, but it happens, and when it happens it's a harrowing moment.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 5, 2005 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Those who seek safety in their symphonic presentations could have wondered if they really do want what they want while at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday concert. No doubt with the best of intentions, guest conductor Andreas Delfs presented an old-fashioned, relentlessly nice program. Comprising a Weber overture, a standard-repertoire concerto, and that well-oiled symphonic machine, Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 ("Scotch"), the lineup was almost exactly what Wolfgang Sawallisch, in one of his music-director exit interviews two years ago, said the orchestra didn't need in the future.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2005 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
We enjoy celebrating homegrown artists, and a visit by pianist Andre Watts is always a treat. He'll collaborate with the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by German conductor Andreas Delfs, who debuted with the orchestra in 1998. Watts has changed his Mozart Concerto choice to No. 9, considered the first mature one of Mozart's 27 and full of sprightly solo challenges written to display the composer's keyboard gifts. Delfs will also lead the moody Overture to Weber's "Die Freischutz" and Mendelssohn's impressions of a trip north which became his Third Symphony, called the "Scottish" (2 p.m. today, 8 p.m. tomorrow and Tuesday, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets, $9-$76.
NEWS
December 10, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Years back, when Andre Watts was in a flurry of recording activity, he was asked how his interpretations changed. Being a feet-on-the-ground Philadelphian, he offered an answer that wasn't about his spiritual evolution. "I don't think I've changed at all," he said. Some artists hit the mark, are happy with it and stay there. Lately, however, Watts has had health problems and, as a new member of the Indiana University faculty, is keeping different company. That's bound to be reflected in his playing.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 2003 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
Conductor Christoph Eschenbach will open and close this weekend's Philadelphia Orchestra program with works by Hector Berlioz, celebrated for the 200th anniversary of his birth this year. The maestro will share the stage with two superb soloists, both audience favorites. Philly has loved pianist Andre Watts since his debut two generations ago, and each return visit is a communion between old friends. He's chosen the sparkling Second Piano Concerto by Camille Saint-Saens, who was one of the most astonishing of all child prodigies.
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