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In Memoriam

Remembering André Watts

July 15, 2023

CMS mourns the passing of one of America’s greatest musicians, pianist André Watts, not only a distinguished soloist but also a beloved chamber musician, who graced our stages on multiple occasions for performances of major repertoire. Making his debut with CMS at Washington’s Kennedy Center on April 8, 1972, he performed Franck’s Piano Quintet in the company of CMS regulars: cellist Leslie Parnas, violist Walter Trampler, and violinists Jaime Laredo and Ani Kavafian, who shared this tribute with us today:

“I have not met an artist with such a kind, warm and generous nature as André Watts. He exemplified the highest ideals in music-making. André made his colleagues feel special on and off the stage. He was a prince of a human being and it’s an honor to have called him a friend.”

André appeared in nine seasons at CMS, during which he played works by Brahms, Mozart, Prokofiev, Schubert, Debussy, Janáček, Fauré, Beethoven, and Shostakovich. He brought his dazzling and magnetic musical personality to all his performances, becoming one of CMS’s favorite guest artists. André Watts played his final program at CMS during the 2003–04 season, performing Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet, again in the company of esteemed CMS regulars: bassist Edgar Meyer, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist Gary Hoffmann, and once more, violinist Ani Kavafian. We will all miss him.

David and Wu Han