Andre Watts soared onto the musical scene at 16, when he subbed for an ailing Glenn Gould to play Liszt's First Piano Concerto on a nationally televised concert with the New York Philharmonic. Leonard Bernstein was conducting. Two years ago, in town playing Rachmaninoff, Watts spoke to The Buffalo News about his big breakthrough.
"I didn't have the time, nor the savvy, to recognize, 'Hey, this could be the beginning of your career, or you could bury yourself,' " he said. "I wanted to play well for my teacher and my mother, and I wanted Bernstein and the orchestra not to think of me as a fluke."
Luckily, it was the beginning of a wonderful career. What a treat it will be Saturday, when Watts joins the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, the "Emperor." The concert takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Also on the program is music from Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet." And the concert opens with "Prayer for Spring," by local composer Christopher Rogerson, who is currently a student at the Curtis Institute.
Admission is $30 to $62. For more information, call 885-5000.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman