FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A world-renowned and Grammy Award-winning pianist, Watts joined the faculty at the IU Jacobs School of Music in 2004 and was named a distinguished professor in 2017.
“The IU Jacobs School celebrates with so many others today the honor bestowed upon Professor Watts of his election to the American Philosophical Society,” said Gwyn Richards, David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean of the Jacobs School. “Unique among learned societies, the APS recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in a wide variety of academic disciplines. Professor Watts’s creative life and professional engagement profoundly reflect the founders’ spirit of inquiry and provide a model for us all in our pursuit of knowledge and discovery.”
Born in Nuremberg, Germany, Watts was a piano prodigy. In 1964, he won the Most Promising New Classical Recording Artist Grammy, and, at age 26, he was the youngest person ever to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale University.
Among numerous other honors, Watts won the Avery Fisher Prize in 1988, an Emmy Award nomination in 1995 and the National Medal of Arts in 2011. He was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl of Fame in 2006, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2014 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.
Watts has played before royalty in Europe and heads of government in nations around the world.
The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Past members include George Washington, John Adams, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.
The first woman was elected in 1789—Russian Princess Dashkova, president of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg.
Today, the society has 1,051 elected members. Only 5,715 members have been elected since 1743.
“Of course, I am immensely humbled and honored to be in such incredibly illustrious company,” said Watts.