Piano virtuoso André Watts to perform with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Master pianist André Watts will be the guest artist for a concert with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The performance is the first of three concerts the ensemble will offer this season. There will be a pre-concert Art-to-Heart discussion with Robert Sherman, journalist and New York Times music writer, at 7 p.m.

Watts will perform Brahms' "Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114" and Schubert's "Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass and Piano in A." The Chamber Music Society will also offer Meyer's "Trio No. 1 for Violin, Cello and Bass." Watts will be joined by: Ani Kavafian, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola; Gary Hoffman, cello; Edgar Meyer, contrabass; and Artistic Director David Shifrin, clarinet.

Watts burst on the music scene at the age of 16, when Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic in its Young People's Concerts. Only two weeks later, Bernstein again tapped the promising young pianist, this time to substitute at the last minute for the ailing Glenn Gould in performances with the Philharmonic, launching his career in storybook fashion.

More than 30 years later, Watts is still among the classical elite, considered one of the finest pianists in the world. He routinely plays sold-out recitals at the world's most prestigious concert halls and international festivals.

During the 2002-03 season alone Watts performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and the National, Detroit, Dallas, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Colorado, Atlanta and San Diego symphonies. He is also well known for his many television appearances, including performances on PBS and the BBC with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

Watts received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize in 1988 and, at the age of 26, he was the youngest person ever to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale University. In 1984, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award and, in 1997, his alma mater again recognized his achievements with an honorary degree to add to his many others. He has been artist-in-residence at the University of Maryland since 2000.

The Chamber Music Society is the nation's premier chamber music ensemble, devoted to both outstanding performance and the creation of new works. Its pioneering structure of 18 artist members augmented by invited guests allows Shifrin to present concerts of every instrumentation, style and historic period. In addition, the Grammy-winning ensemble is committed to new compositions, having commissioned more than 110 pieces in its 32-year history.

The five artists appearing with Watts have all had long histories with the Chamber Music Society. Edgar Meyer, who has played 400 concerts with the ensemble, is a Grammy-winning bassist who has collaborated with Bela Fleck and Yo-Yo Ma. The ensemble will present one of his original compositions during the Quick Center concert.

Shifrin, who is celebrating his twelfth season with the group, has performed with the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Denver and Memphis symphonies. Ani Kavafian has been playing violin with the ensemble for 24 years and is a winner of the coveted Avery Fisher Prize and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions.

Violinist Paul Neubauer first appeared with the group in 1985 and is a winner of the Whitaker D'Angelo and Lionel Tertis international competitions. He is a former principal violinist for the New York Philharmonic. Cellist Gary Hoffman, a 10-year Chamber Music Society veteran, is the first North American to have won the Rostropovich International Competition and has toured and recorded extensively.

Tickets are $30. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 25, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 71

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