Charles Wadsworth

Charles Wadsworth, a celebrated legend in the world of music, is the founding Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and led it for twenty years (1969 to 1989). He created a concept of programming for varied instruments and voice that brought chamber music to the popularity it has today, and led to the profusion of chamber music concerts and festivals throughout the U.S. and worldwide. His inclusion of major soloists with a nucleus of permanent artists inspired a new generation of virtuoso musicians to perform chamber music. Wadsworth also instituted a commissioning program which produced important works from a wide range of composers including Barber, Bernstein, Menotti, Bolcom, Boulez, and Corigliano.

For fifty years Charles Wadsworth was a favorite at the Spoleto Festivals (first in Italy and then in Charleston, SC) as Artistic Director for Chamber Music, where he both performed as a pianist and was the much-loved host of the daily concerts at the Dock Street Theater. He also was the Artistic Director of annual concert series presented in Old Lyme, CT, Beaufort, Columbia, Camden, SC and Savannah, Georgia. For twelve years he toured as a pianist in concerts with Beverly Sills. From 2007 to 2010, he was Artistic Director of the Cartagena Festival Internacional de Música, which he founded, in Colombia.

Deciding to relinquish these responsibilities at the age of 80, Wadsworth continued to perform chamber music concerts with Charles Wadsworth and Friends: violinist Chee-Yun, pianist Stephen Prutsman, clarinetist Todd Palmer, and cellist Andres Diaz.

Wadsworth was inducted in 2017 into the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Hall of Fame. He performed at the White House for four Presidents: Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and Reagan. He has been honored by the Republic of France as a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, and by Italy as a Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit. His many honors include New York’s Handel Medallion, South Carolina’s Order of the Palmetto and the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award as well as honorary doctorates from the University of South Carolina, Converse College, and Connecticut College. For 20 years Wadsworth gave benefit chamber music concerts in his hometown of Newnan, Georgia for the restoration and renovation of the municipal auditorium, which is now named Charles Wadsworth Auditorium. The Donald W. Nixon Centre for the Arts and the Blackwell Trust are establishing the first Charles Wadsworth Piano Competition, to be held in April 2018. He is married to Susan Wadsworth, the founder of Young Concert Artists, Inc.


Authorized biography: July 2017

The Donald W. Nixon Centre for Performing and Visual Arts

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