The heart of the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) Beethoven Festival will take the stage on March 28 and 29 when the orchestra performs two concerts featuring pianist André Watts

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Watts, Zimmermann and Beethoven

CANTON, OHIO (March 11, 2015) – The heart of the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) Beethoven Festival will take the stage on March 28 and 29 when the orchestra performs two concerts featuring pianist André Watts.  On Saturday March 28 at 8:00pm Mr. Watts will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and on Sunday March 29 at 7:30pm, he will perform Piano Concerto No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 3.  Both concerts will be performed at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall (2323 17th Street NW, Canton).  CSO Music Director Gerhardt Zimmermann will conduct.

Over the course of 4 concerts in the festival – two in March and two in April – André Watts will perform all five of Beethoven’s piano concerti.  “Festivals like this are not uncommon,” explains CSO Executive Director Michelle Mullaly, “but it is rather rare for all of the concerti performances to be done by the same artist.”  Watts and Zimmermann have teamed up twice for similar Beethoven series – once with the North Carolina Symphony and again with the National Symphony in Washington D.C. Their long-standing music collaborations and friendship began when Watts was the guest artist for Zimmermann’s debut concert with the Canton Symphony Orchestra in 1980.  “I can think of no other pianist that I would want to really ‘make music’ with,” Zimmermann has said about Watts.  “He is, in every sense of the word a true artist.”

André Watts made his professional debut at the age of 16 when Leonard Bernstein chose him to perform with the New York Philharmonic in their Young People’s Concerts which were broadcast on CBS-TV.  Two weeks later, Bernstein asked him to substitute for the ailing Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt’s e-flat concerto with the New York Philharmonic.  Since then, he has continued to be a favorite among orchestra’s throughout the US and has made many television appearances.   He has also recorded an extensive discography collection of works by numerous classical composers.  Watts has performed for royalty in England and received the National Medal of Arts in 2011.  Previously Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland, Mr. Watts was appointed to the newly created Jack I. and Dora B. Hamlin Endowed Chair in Music at Indiana University in May, 2004.

Tickets for the concerts start at $25.  There are senior, student and group discounts available.  Dress is casual and the concerts are appropriate for ages 8 and older.  Tickets and a full schedule of Beethoven Festival events are available at www.cantonsymphony.org/beethoven-festival, by calling 330-452-2094, at the Zimmermann Symphony Center – 2331 17th Street NW in Canton – weekdays from 9am to 5pm or at the Umstattd Performing Arts Hall box office beginning one hour before the performances.

Founded in 1937, the Canton Symphony Orchestra is a fully professional ensemble and organization dedicated to performing concerts that enrich, educate and entertain. Under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, the orchestra performs classical, pops, holiday, and educational programs. Most performances are in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, 2323 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio (at McKinley High School across from C.T. Branin Natatorium). Parking at McKinley High School is free. For more information, please visit www.CantonSymphony.org.

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