Remembering André Watts

André Watts, the celebrated American pianist, has passed away following a battle with prostate cancer. He was 77.

At the age of 16, Watts made his national debut, performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic as part of a nationally televised Young People’s Concert. Soon after, Bernstein invited Watts to perform on one of the orchestra’s subscription programs, where he substituted for an ailing Glenn Gould. Watts went on to an esteemed performance career which spanned more than 60 years. In 1988 he received the Avery Fisher Prize. In his final years, he suffered nerve damage which led him to rework Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand to be played by the right hand. Following one injury, Watts commented sagely, “The last few years have been a bit of a struggle. I got over the brain thing and my hand has come back nicely.” In 2004, he joined the faculty of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

André Watts stands out among the great artists whom I have had the pleasure to accompany as a member of the Richmond Symphony. His powerfully dramatic performances, rooted in the expansive Romantic repertoire, were memorable “events” for audiences and orchestra alike.

Here are selected recordings of André Watts:

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23 (First Movement)

Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor

Chopin: Étude Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor (“Revolutionary Étude”)

Gershwin: Three Preludes


  • Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23, André Watts, Yoel Levi, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Amazon
  • Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178, André Watts Amazon
  • André Watts’ complete discography

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

2 thoughts on “Remembering André Watts”

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

    That Mr. Rogers clip is absolutely precious. “I’m so proud to be your friend.”

  2. One of the most unforgettable concerts I’ve ever attended was one of Mr. Watts’s recitals. His reading of the Janáček Sonata was hair-raising in it’s intensity. I don’t think he ever recorded it.


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