Pianist André Watts. He performed with American and international orchestras for decades; he appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, for example, more than 100 times. Photo by Steve J. Sherman.

In Friday’s (7/14) Washington Post, Emily Langer writes, “André Watts, a classical pianist who was catapulted to fame at 16 … and who sustained his celebrity for more than half a century with his dazzling virtuosity and uncommon charisma, died July 12 at his home in Bloomington, Ind. He was 77. His death was announced by Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he had joined the faculty in 2004. The cause was prostate cancer, said his wife, Joan Watts. Mr. Watts, the son of an African American soldier and a Hungarian refugee of World War II, was often described as one of the first Black classical musicians to reach stardom on the international stage…. He said that ‘a person’s color should be recognized as a means of physical description, and then dismissed.’… He was, by all accounts, a prodigy…. He auditioned for a youth concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra and was selected to perform—at age 10—a Haydn concerto. At 16 … [Leonard] Bernstein, the music director of the New York Philharmonic … chose him to appear in [a Philharmonic] Young People’s Concert … on television in January 1963 … It was a sensation…. Mr. Watts fulfilled, if not exceeded, the promise of his youth. For decades, he was one of the most sought-after classical pianists in the world, frequently performing before sold-out crowds, and was a recording artist … Mr. Watts studied at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music before enrolling at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University … ‘Performing is my way of being part of humanity—of sharing,’ Mr. Watts said.”