Marin Alsop Leads BSO, Andre Watts in Beethoven's "Emperor" Piano Concerto, June 3-6

Pianist André Watts Joins Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Perform Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, June 3–6

Click here to read Interchanging Idioms Review of Andre Watts performance in Colorado

Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a program of works by Barber, Bartók and Beethoven on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 6 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, June 5 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Renowned German pianist André Watts will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor.” The program also includes composer Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Béla Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.

A frequent guest with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since the 1960s, André Watts returns to play Beethoven’s fifth and final piano concerto. Watts began studying piano at age 6 and appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age 9. When he was 16, he performed with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in a Young People's Concert. Two weeks later after that orchestra’s soloist, Glenn Gould, became ill, Bernstein asked Watts to fill in. After performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, he received a standing ovation from both the audience and orchestral members, thus launching his career. Also a graduate of the Peabody Institute and a former artist-in-residence at the University of Maryland, he is considered to be one of the world’s most in-demand pianists.

Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto is one of the most popular and well-known works in all of classical music. Although the piece received little response after its premiere in 1808, it became an audience favorite upon its return in 1810. German writer and composer E. T. A. Hoffmann described it as “one of the most important works of the time.” The piece even inspired compositions by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Mahler, and is known as being one of Beethoven’s most innovative works.

Barber’s Adagio for Strings, commonly referred to as America’s national funeral music, is known for its simple and sincere tone. It is one of his most frequently performed works and was played at the funeral services of both Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. This sentimental piece was infamously featured in the Academy Award-winning film Platoon to grieve those lost during the Vietnam War.

Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta was written in only two months to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Basel Chamber Orchestra. After its premiere, audiences were so enthused that they demanded an encore of its riveting final movement. Bartók scholar Halsey Stevens describes the work as “so spontaneous and communicative that only the rare listener is likely to be aware of its complexities.”

Classical Concert: Barber, Bartók & Beethoven
Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, June 4, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor
André Watts, piano

Barber: Adagio for Strings
Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

Tickets for these performances range from $30 to $90 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or


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