Poster André Watts
André Watts took pride in inspiring young musicians.
Rhapsody in Black

Pianist André Watts, a performer we all learned from

Rhapsody in Black - André Watts

Editor's note: This is a special encore edition of an episode about pianist Andre Watts, who died July 12 at 77. Learn more about his marvelous career.  

Pianist André Watts made his debut at 16 when he was featured in a Young People’s Concert, with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Bernstein was blown away by the performance, and two weeks later he asked Watts to fill in for an ailing Glenn Gould. Eventually, Watts would go on to give more than 150 concerts a year and inspire generations of pianist to grow and strive as musicians.

Musical selections from André Watts

Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1

This is a clip from the 1963 Young Performers Concert No. 4 with Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. Even at a young age, you can see the passion and precision in Watts’ performance.

Frédéric Chopin: Revolutionary Étude

In an episode about teaching children that everyone makes mistakes, Watts guest stars on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and performs Chopin’s Revolutionary Étude. Watts’ career as a performer and teacher echoes that episode’s lesson by reinforcing that mistakes are part of the learning process.


Host: Tesfa Wondemagegnehu

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher

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About Rhapsody in Black

Where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music, with host Vernon Neal.

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