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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 3:42 p.m., Friday, September 5, 2008

Pianist Andre Watts honored by Halekulani today

Advertiser staff

Halekulani Corporation, sponsor of the Honolulu Symphony's Halekulani Masterworks, is making the inaugural presentation of its "Lifetime Achievement Legend Award" today, recognizing exceptional contributions to the arts by masters in their field. Andre Watts, a world-renowned classical pianist, is the first recipient.

The annual award reflects the luxury hotel's support for arts and culture in Hawaii, and will be presented to Watts at a private reception celebrating the 2008 Honolulu Symphony Season and Halekulani Masterworks series.

Watts is set to open the Honolulu Symphony season and the Masterworks series with "Watts plays Brahms."

"Since his stunning New York debut with Leonard Bernstein over 40 years ago, Andre Watts has been consistently recognized as one of the greatest pianists in musical history," said Peter Shaindlin, Chief Operating Officer, Halekulani Corporation, in a release.

The award is being presented by Peter Shaindlin, Chief Operating Officer of Halekulani Corporation and Tom Gulick, Executive Director of the Honolulu Symphony. The reception features an all Brahms musical theme.

On opening night of the season, Saturday, Sept. 6, Watts will perform Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2.

André Watts burst upon the music world at the age of 16 when Leonard Bernstein chose him to debut with the New York Philharmonic in the Young People's Concerts, broadcast nationwide on CBS-TV. Only two weeks later, Bernstein asked him to substitute at the last minute for the ailing Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt's E-flat Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, thus launching his career in storybook fashion. More than 45 years later, André Watts remains a perennial favorite with orchestras throughout the U.S. He was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his debut (with the Philadelphia Orchestra).

Watts' discography includes recordings of works by Gershwin, Chopin, Liszt and Tchaikovsky for CBS Masterworks; recital CDs of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Chopin for Angel/EMI; and recordings featuring the concertos of Liszt, MacDowell, Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saens on the Telarc label. He is also included in the Great Pianists of the 20th Century series for Philips.

For more information about the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the Halekulani Masterworks season and tickets, go to http://www.honolulusymphony.com.