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Scott Watkins: NEWS

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

AMERICAN CONCERTO REPERTOIRE

DELLO JOIO Fantasy and Variations
GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
GERSHWIN Second Rhapsody
GERSHWIN Concerto in F
HANSON Concerto in G major, Op. 36
MacDOWELL Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 15
MENOTTI Concerto in F major
MUCZYNSKI Concerto No. 1

College Music Society - Northwest Regional Annual Conference - March 8, 2017

American composer Howard Hanson's beautiful "Symphonic Rhapsody, Op. 14," gets its international debut in this performance and lecture for the College Music Society. Composed in 1919 the work has remained in obscurity having never been published (the work is still in manuscript form).

Once thought to be a piano transcription of an orchestral work, research has revealed that Hanson himself was very proud of his "Rhapsody" and performed it on piano often! On one such occasion music reviewer Clarence Urmy, writing for the San Jose Evening News, declared that the work "should be added to the repertroire of every advanced pianist."

Hanson himself wrote that "The form is, I believe, ‘absolutely original’… as it is an attempt to put the emotional contents of an entire four movement sonata into one movement of considerable length. Also I believe that the material is the strongest that I have ever written, at least it seems to express more nearly what I am trying to say."

Florida State Music Teachers Association Annual Conference - July 13, 2016

I am very excited to announce that I will be presenting my research on my forthcoming book about Howard Hanson's early life and career at the FSMTA Annual Conference in Orlando on October 28.

As part of this presentation I will perform a recently discovered, unpublished work by Hanson, his extraordinary "Symphonic Rhapsody, Op. 14," composed in 1919 and played by Hanson a number of times. One reviewer, after hearing the work, wrote on October 28, 1919, that the work is a "delicate tone poem" which "should be added to the repertoire of every advanced pianist."

The performance on October 28, 9:30am, will be the work's first since March 4, 1920, when Hanson himself last played it in California.

A can't-miss opportunity to hear this work for the first time in nearly 100 years!

New York Concert Review of recital at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall - February 6, 2016

Rorianne Schrade, writing for New York Concert Review, heaped praise on Watkins for his early twentieth century recital which featured the New York premiere of American composer Howard Hanson's Piano Sonata, Op. 11, nearly one hundred years after it was composed.

"American pianist Scott Watkins performed music of Bartók, Hanson, and Debussy last weekend, in a program that was well suited to his particular pianistic and musical gifts. A keen intellect was immediately apparent in his opener, the Piano Sonata Sz. 80 (1926) by Béla Bartók (1881-1945), which drew upon his laser-like focus, faultless memory, and considerable analytic grasp. It was bold and bracing in its relentless rhythms without ever devolving into the earsplitting harshness that one so often hears in this piece. Though many advocate unleashing the beast in this work (a product of the “barbaric” period of the composer’s life), pacing and control are still important – and one can appreciate so much more of the composition if one is not covering one’s ears! Thankfully, Mr. Watkins showed judicious control and steadiness, but with plenty of stamina."

"The rest of the first half consisted of a remarkable discovery (or rediscovery), the Piano Sonata in A Minor, Op. 11 (1918), by the prominent American composer Howard Hanson (1896-1981) in its first New York City performance. Mr. Watkins [played] with excellent attention to detail and respect for the score ... [and] with the fidelity of a music historian."


"Debussy’s Préludes Book II were a good match for Mr. Watkins’ gifts. Despite the tendency of many pianists to use the excuse of “impressionism” to run wild and drown some of these twelve pieces in pedal, we know that Debussy was against such abuse, and Mr. Watkins gets it right. He plays with the requisite clarity, but with great sweeps and washes of sound when required. These were excellent performances."

"There was delicacy in Bruyères and a haunting quality in Feuilles mortes. Mr. Watkins' “straight man” approach enhanced the fun of “Général Lavine” – eccentric and Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq., P. P. M. P. C. Les tierces alternées (No. 11) was also a highlight. Mr. Watkins was extremely impressive in his handling of its exposed technical challenges. While it is not this listener’s favorite Prélude, it took a prize for sheer digital prowess. Feux d’artifice (No. 12) was a brilliant close, played with vivid imagination and fire. All in all, it was a highly praiseworthy concert – a fulfilling musical evening."

- by Rorianne Schrade for New York Concert Review; New York, NY

You can read the entire review here:
http://nyconcertreview.com/reviews/scott-watkins-pianist-in-review/

Prior to the recital in New York - August 22, 2015

October 8, Jacksonville University
October 6, Jacksonville Heights Baptist Church
October 3, Austin College, Sherman, Texas
September 26, Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio

Hope to see you at one of these - or in New York City on October 10!

Recital in New York October 10 - August 22, 2015

Solo recital at Carnegie Hall's beautiful and intimate Weill Recital Hall. Tickets are on sale now. For details, follow this link:

http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2015/10/10/0800/PM/Scott-Watkins-Piano/
Program:
BELA BARTOK Piano Sonata, Sz. 80
HOWARD HANSON Piano Sonata in A minor, Op. 11 (first performance in New York)
CLAUDE DEBUSSY Preludes, Book II

AMERICAN PIANO SONATAS - June 24, 2015

Praise for American Piano Sonatas

Watkins plays this music “splendidly, bringing a fine balance of colorful tonality and elegance” to the works.
- Peter Burwasser, Fanfare Magazine

Watkins “plays authoritatively and expressively.”
- Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News

Watkins' new recording, American Piano Sonatas, is "an enterprising triptych of formally traditional but stylistically varied sonatas spanning seven decades. He plays authoritatively and expressively and is admirably recorded" (The Dallas Morning News). The disc features Howard Hanson's Piano Sonata, Op. 11, in its first recording as completed by the composer. The Sonata, composed in 1918, exists in two manuscripts, one incomplete, and the other completed, discovered in 2005, and published by Carl Fischer in 2011. The work features the gifts for which Hanson is primarily known, including soaring melodies and pungent harmonies.

William Schirmer's Sonata No. 17, composed in 1974, has its first recording on this disc. The work has been compared to Prokofiev in its taught neo-classicism and dramatic harmonies. The emotional center of the work is its second movement which is dramatic and moving.

Carlisle Floyd is America's Dean of Opera - his Piano Sonata, composed in 1956 and given its world premiere at Carnegie Hall by pianist Rudolf Firkusny a year later, reflects his sound world with angular dissonances combined with the sound of open fourths and fifths, combined with heart-wrenching melodies. This dramatic work's first movement showcases Floyd's unique compositional gifts especially in the haunting second subject. The central movement is a slow, dramatic fugue interrupted by a slow march of almost malevolent character with it's low "drum beat." The final movement is a lively toccata-like work with a slow central contrasting section.

These three works represent American piano music away from the commonly recognized sonatas by Barber, Copland, and Griffes (and even MacDowell), and show the wide variety and beauty of American music.


Released September, 2014.

aps@scottwatkinspianist.com

American Music Symposium and New Music Festival at Jacksonville University, March 2014 - February 23, 2014

Exciting News! We are hosting a first-ever American Music Symposium and New Music Festival at Jacksonville University March 2 - 10, 2014. Concerts, lectures, demonstrations, presentations of all kinds. Full details to be released soon, but concert music will include works by Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, Carlisle Floyd, Donald McCullough, Thomas Harrison, Tony Steve, many others.

Check Calendar Dates for more details.

Farewell to my friend, Marilyn Meier - July 7, 2012

With a heavy heart I join the world to say good-bye to Marilyn Meier, an extraordinary human being and pianist of stunning ability. Marilyn died June 22. She battled a rare form of liver cancer for a year. Her last words, according to her father, Hermann, were to him: "don't forget the children's piano lessons."

I met Marilyn in Cincinnati while we were in Bela Siki's class at the College-Conservatory of Music. There she "wowed" all of us with her fearlessness, her friendliness, and her wonderful sense of humor. Also, she scared the hell out of us with her blazing, effortless octaves!

Marilyn was tireless in her native Australia bringing arts and music to place where it hadn't been - inspiring all who met her - enriching lives and touching hearts.

I join all of her friends and family members to mourn her passing. Yet, in the shadow of sorrow, we find joy in all that she accomplished in her tragically short life.

Marilyn Meier-Kapavale (1964-2012)
Photo in GALLERY
Obituary in LINKS

Alexis Weissenberg (July 29, 1929 - January 8, 2012) - January 13, 2012

Although Mr. Weissenberg had been ill for some time, his death is no less sad nor shocking. I had the good fortune to have had a lesson with Mr. Weissenberg in the 1990s which was an experience I will never forget. He was a generous man (generous with his time, energy, money, art) to whom the sound of the piano was his own voice ... his language. His career was storied, legendary, and his playing was revered by so many. He played the piano with what was once called scientific clarity, could produce unthinkable volume "without ever losing the shimmering roundness of tone." - The New York Times.

More and more of his once thought lost or forgotten recordings are again being reissued (thankfully) and more video of his performces is also becoming known and available. Most remarkable is his Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in Paris with conductor Georges Pretre.

I first saw and heard him in Cincinnati in a performance of the Third Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto with conductor Jesus Lopez Cobos. I have never been the same. I heard him again in an all-Schumann recital in Chicago, and met him many times after masterclasses. He always remembered me by name - not unusual for him.

More than anything, he taught me (at my lesson, in masterclass, through interviews, and by his performances) to have faith and courage in my musical convictions; to trust my beliefs; and to always play the piano for the one person who may be listening to you because he MUST.

I invite and encourage you to learn about the artistry of Alexis Weissenberg.

RIP Maestro.

WATKINS NAMED SHIGERU KAWAI ARTIST! - August 19, 2011

I am honored to have been recently named one of five living Shigeru Kawai artists.

For further details, please visit http://shigerukawai.com/main_links/artists_bios/scott_watkins.html
When I play a Shigeru, I feel like a real pianist ... like an artist.

Thank you to the wonderful people at Kawai and Shigeru Kawai for this humbling honor.

Two new links! - August 4, 2011

We've added two new links - each to articles in The Financial Times, London. One deals with the future of pianism, and the other focuses on the large number of Chinese children studying the piano. Both are excellent.

BEETHOVEN! - July 11, 2011

Just announced.

A recital program of four of Beethoven's most beloved Piano Sonatas (Pathetique, Tempest, Moonlight, Waldstein) is now available for booking. Appearances are available beginning in March, 2012 through the 2014 concert season. Also included are Piano Concertos 3 and 5. For recital booking convenience and special requests, the Piano Sonatas in B-flat major, Op. 22, and in A major, Op. 101 are available.

Your request for information and/or booking dates may be sent to beethoven@scottwatkinspianist.com

Thank you.

Return from China, and St. Augustine Music Festival - May 26, 2011

Scott Watkins' first visit to China was a success!

On May 8, Watkins began his visit as Visiting Foreign Scholar at North National University in Yinchuan, Ningxia, China, where he gave six masterclasses. During this visit he also met privately with the members of the piano faculty with whom he discussed teaching challenges and goals. May 11 he gave a recital to a standing-room-only crowd which was well received. During this recital Watkins gave the Chinese premiere of composer He Jian-jun's Piano Sonata No. 1 (which he had played at Carnegie Hall in April of 2010).

May 14 Watkins travelled to Lanzhou where he performed the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto with the Lanzhou Symphony Orchestra conducted by Heping Liu. In doing so, Watkins became the first American pianist ever to perform with the city's orchestra. He has been invited to return for the 2011-2012 concert season for performances of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto.

China! - April 13, 2011

We are excited to announce an upcoming brief tour of China, May 7 - 22. Recitals and masterclasses, Univeristy visits, etc. are being planned.

Recital program to include Chinese composer, Jian-jun He's Piano Sonata No. 1 which I first performed at Carnegie Hall in April, 2010.

Also on the program is Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, some Chopin Waltzes, and some Liszt.

BRAHMS & LISZT at the St. Augustine Music Festival - March 21, 2011

For the fifth year in a row, we are pround to participate in the ever-expanding and ever-more-popular ST. AUGUSTINE MUSIC FESTIVAL, organized and directed by the exciting musical team of Jorge and Jin Pena. This year promises to be better than ever, and we are delighted to participated. June 18 I'll join Jorge for a performance of Brahms' noble Sonata in E-flat major for Viola and Piano, then, on June 24, I'll perform music by Liszt in honor of the composer's 200th birthday!

CONGRATULATIONS TO MY STUDENT, BENJAMIN CLARK - March 21, 2011

My high school senior student, Ben Clark, will visit Europe in late March - we wish him a wonderful trip! Congratulations to him for winning the Florida State Music Teachers' Associaion District 4 (JMTA) Senior Piano Concerto Competition March 12. That same afternoon Ben also was named a finalist in the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra Competition. Ben performed the Piano Concerto in G major by Maurice Ravel.

Celebrating Liszt's 200th birthday... - March 18, 2011

My students are asking me: "why are having all these birthday celebrations?" - finally they are understanding the importance of Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, and Mendelssohn - iconic figures of music's great Romantic period.

My studio class will give it's third annual Spring recital April 8 - "A Liszt Retrospective." Starring Alfred Meneses, John Shannon, Katherine Adams, Tyler Bechtle, Grace Han, Juan Rogers, Austin Clark, Kate Sobleman, Karen O'Connell, Noel West)

On April 15 I'll present my annual faculty recital. This year, to accomodate an upcoming concert tour to China in May, my program will include five Waltzes by Chopin (hope one of them is your favorite), Moszrt's dramatic Sonata in A minor, K. 310, and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Liszt (2011) I'll perform his powerful Vallee d'Obermann, a couple of the Petrarc Sonnets (Nos. 123 and 104) and the energetic Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12.

In March, I joined the Brevard Symphony Orchestra for performances of Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major. It was a blast!

Next season is already in the planning: April 13 I'll join the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and conductor Michael Butterman in a performance of Beethoven's Concerto No. 3, then the following weekend I'll give a recital of four of Beethoven's most beloved piano sonatas ("Tempest," "Pathetique," "Moonlight," "Waldstein").

Spring, 2011 - January 21, 2011

Coming up:

April 8: My piano studio class will present their third annual Spring recital: A Liszt Retrospective (Alfred Meneses, John Shannon, Katherine Adams, Juan Rogers, Austin Clark, Karen O'Connell, Grace Han, Kate Sobelman, Tyler Bechtle, Noel West).

April 15: Schumann's "Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13," ... a work I last played at my Carnegie Hall debut (June, 1999), plus a host of pieces by Franz Liszt (Three Petrarch Sonnets, Vallee d'Obermann, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12).

March 5&6: Liszt Second Concerto in A major with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christopher Confessore.

June: St. Augustine Music Festival

DATE CHANGE! - February 25, 2010

Recital at Jacksonville University to debut the new concert piano which was originally scheduled for March 26 (Friday evening at 7:30)has been moved ahead one day to Thursday evening, March 25, at 7:30.

Program:
BEETHOVEN Sonata in A major, Op. 101
HE JIAN-JUN Piano Sonata No. 1 (2009)
CHOPIN 14 Waltzes

The Chopin Waltzes are performed in observance of the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth.

A reception will follow.

LOTS GOING ON! - February 3, 2010

The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Fabio Mechetti presents Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte." I've been enjoying the staging rehearsals as pianist, and I'm looking forward to the continuo work at the performance, February 13.

February 7, Jacksonville University, 3pm, annual ComposerFest Concert (music by Harrison, Schirmer, Steve, and the Florida premiere of Jian-jun He's Piano Sonata).

March 2, Jacksonville University Orchestra, music by Watkins (Two Poems by Walt Whitman for baritone and orchestra with Robert Tudor, bariton soloist), Steve (Piano Concerto, Scott Watkins, piano soloist).

March 12-21, France and Poland to celebrate Chopin's 200th anniversary.

DATE CHANGE!
March 25, Jacksonville University... Watkins' solo recital (preview of his Carnegie Hall recital April 10), includes Beethoven Sonata in A major, Op. 101, He Piano Sonata (2009), Chopin Fourteen Waltzes, and features JU's new concert grand piano, Shigeru-Kawai.

April 10, solo recital, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, 5:30pm. Tickets available starting February 15, $25.00 each.

April 12, Studio Class Recital, Jacksonville University. Featuring Alfred Meneses, Katherine Adams, John Shannon, Mallory Bray, Grace Han, Elizabeth Janiak, Tyler Bechtle, Ben Clark, Victor Huls, Austin Clark, Kate Sobelman.

PLAYING CHOPIN IN 2010? - January 1, 2010

I'm building a database of Chopin performances during 2010 (the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth). Please send me an e-mail with your repertoire, date, time, location, and any other details. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

I'm playing Chopin's Fourteen Waltzes at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, April 10, 2010, 5:30pm.

Please send your information to:
info@scottwatkinspianist.com

Upcoming Performances - January 1, 2010

February 7, New Music Festival at Jacksonville University
CLIFTON CALLENDER "Point and Line to Plane" (for solo piano)
JIAN-JUN HE Sonata for French Horn and Piano
SCOTT WATKINS Music from the original motion picture "Soul in the Machine"

February 13, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
MOZART Cosi fan tutte (continuo)

March 12 - 21
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
HE Piano Sonata (European Premiere)
CHOPIN Fourteen Waltzes
(Warsaw, Paris) (dates, locations TBA)

March 26 (JU)
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata, No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
HE Piano Sonata (Florida Premiere)
CHOPIN Fourteen Waltzes

April 10 (NYC)
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata, No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
HE Piano Sonata (New York Premiere)
CHOPIN Fourteen Waltzes
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
(tickets are $25 and available starting February 15)

GREETINGS TO INTERNATIONAL VISITORS! - February 15, 2006

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