The date is set! Newnan's native son and world-famous pianist Charles Wadsworth will return to Newnan to perform in concert in his namesake Charles Wadsworth Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, March 19. at 7:30 pm. Wadsworth will once again be joined by a group of world-class musicians as they present the much anticipated "Charles Wadsworth & Friends" concert that has become Newnan's most prominent cultural event.
Wadsworth grew up in Newnan and became an accomplished pianist at an early age and, by age 13, was filling in as the substitute pianist and organist at local churches. He went on to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees from famed Julliard School and moved to New York in 1952 to begin his professional career. In New York, he founded the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1969, leading it as Artistic Director and pianist for twenty years and bringing chamber music the unprecedented popularity that it enjoys today. His innovative programming and the varied repertoire he unearthed have inspired a new generation of virtuoso musicians to perform chamber music, fostering the creation of chamber music festivals worldwide. Since l977, Wadsworth has been one of the Artistic Directors of the Spoleto USA Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is pianist and host of the daily chamber music concerts. Similar concerts were created in 1960 at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.
Mr. Wadsworth celebrated his 80th birthday during Newnan's 2009 concert and, since announcing his retirement at last year's concert, has limited his concert appearances. He pledged, however, to return annually to Newnan for as long as "providentially able." He has received New York City's highest cultural award the Handel Medallion, in addition to South Carolina's Order of the Palmetto. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of South Carolina, Converse College, and Connecticut College and has been invited to perform at the White House for Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. His many honors include being a 2009 recipient of Coweta County's Centre for Performing & Visual Arts' Richard Brooks Visionary Award of Distinction and also having had an alley in Newnan designated as "Wadsworth Alley."
Charles Wadsworth has been returning annually to Newnan with his Charles Wadsworth & Friends Concerts since 1990. Originally sponsored by a group of local citizens and, more recently, by the City of Newnan's Cultural Arts Commission, the concert has generated funds used to restore the city's auditorium named after Wadsworth in 1998. It continues today supporting the ongoing upkeep and improvement of this treasured hall. Concert proceeds have also made possible a series of Master Classes in which the visiting artists share their talents and personal experiences with groups of Coweta County students. With the strong support of the Newnan City Council and a large number of loyal patrons, the restoration of the auditorium was completed in 2008.
Tickets for the event will be available after March 1st. General seating adult tickets are $20 and Senior/Student tickets are $15.
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