Pianist André Watts Makes Historic Appearance with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra

Published Monday, January 14, 2019 12:00 pm

Legendary pianist André Watts returns to Toledo for his eighth appearance with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and his first in fifteen years. He will perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 8 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. André Watts has performed with every TSO music director since Serge Fournier in the 1970s. This will be his first performance with TSO’s new music director Alain Trudel. The programs on Friday and Saturday evening will open with Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides ‘Fingal's Cave,’” a piece that was chosen by TSO audiences, and close with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6.

André Watts made his professional debut at the age of 16 with Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic on one of the orchestra’s Young People's Concerts, which was broadcast nationwide on CBS-TV. Two weeks later, Bernstein asked Watts to substitute at the last minute for Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt's E-flat Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, thus launching his career in storybook fashion. More than half a century later, André Watts remains one of America’s most distinguished and celebrated performing artists.

“André Watts is a treasure, and we are so lucky to present him in our 75th Anniversary season,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “From his exciting debut with Leonard Bernstein in the early 1960s to today, Mr. Watts remains one of the most exciting pianists performing. He is the consummate interpreter of the Romantic concerto, and I think we are all in for a treat to hear him perform the Grieg Concerto.” Mr. Vassar adds, “In this historic year, it is symbolic that we have Mr. Watts with us again. He is the only soloist to have performed with every music director, going back to Serge Fournier. What a better way to tip the hat to history and experience some incredible music in the process!”

André Watts made his TSO debut on February 13, 1970, performing Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto under the direction of Serge Fournier who served as the TSO’s Music Director from 1964-1978. The twenty-three year old pianist, at the time, played two concerts at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater and met with over 500 students from all over Toledo for a “Meet the Artist” party held after the rehearsal the night before the concert.

 “I’m delighted for my friend of many years, André Watts, to return to the Peristyle stage this February,” says Robert Bell, President Emeritus of the Toledo Symphony. “Every time I hear him play, there’s something new to discover. He is an extraordinary artist that has a special connection to our orchestra.”

André Watts Returns will take place on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 8 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. Tickets are available at toledosymphony.com or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419.246.8000.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at fkanney@toledosymphony.com.


The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is a community-supported organization of professional musicians and teachers who deliver quality performance and music education for all.

Formed in 1943 as The Friends of Music and incorporated in 1951 as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has grown from a core group of twenty-two part-time musicians to a regional orchestra that employs sixty-five professional musicians who consider the Toledo Symphony their primary employer, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands. This year, the Toledo Symphony celebrates its 75th Anniversary season.

The Toledo Symphony reaches more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Chamber, Mozart in the Afternoon, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of the orchestra’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 postal zip codes. Additionally, Music Under the Stars, a free summer band concert series, is held annually at the Toledo Zoo. Education programs, student performances, and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers, and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation.

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