Charles Wadsworth

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Classic Pianist and Musical Promoter

Charles Wadsworth is a classical pianist and musical promoter from Newnan, Georgia. Recognized for his abilities at a young age, at age 12 he started taking piano lessons from Hugh Hodgson, namesake of the University of Georgia's music school. Wadsworth gained international renown in 1960 by originating the Midday Concerts at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. He also started the chamber music concert series at the Spoleto Festival USA, which he directs, performs at and hosts.

In 1969, Wadsworth performed the opening concerts at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. He led the series for twenty seasons, commissioning new works by Pierre Boulez, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein, among others. He also presented many young performers, including Kathleen Battle, Richard Goode, Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Serkin, Pinchas Zukerman and Jessye Norman.

In 1996, Wadsworth organized a concert for the 1996 Summer Olympics including Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell and Frederica von Stade.

Wadsworth has been invited to perform at the White House for the Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

He has received awards from the French Government as a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters, and from Italy as a Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit. He has also received the Handel Medallion for his contributions to the cultural life of the City of New York.

The Art Deco municipal auditorium in Newnan was renovated and renamed the Charles Wadsworth Auditorium in his honor. He has performed there annually since 1990.

The University of West Georgia has created the Charles Wadsworth Music Scholarship in his honor. It was first established in 1990 by a citizens group from Newnan.

Learn more about Charles Wadsworth.