Due to the lingering effects of prostate cancer treatments, pianist Andre Watts is canceling his Thursday-though-Saturday concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Kimmel Center performances will instead feature the 28-year-old French pianist Lise de la Salle, who will play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the orchestra and guest conductor Fabio Luisi.
In a statement released by the orchestra on Tuesday, the Germany-born but locally-raised Watts, who first performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1957 at age 10, said "Philadelphia is such a special place to me, and I deeply regret not being well enough to celebrate my 60th anniversary..."
Watts also canceled a Philadelphia Orchestra concert last summer as he began treatments, though in recent weeks he was said to be definitely on for the forthcoming performances.
De la Salle, his replacement, performed with the orchestra in the 2013-14 season in Philadelphia and recently released recordings of the Rachmaninoff concertos in collaboration with guest conductor Luisi. Though she enjoyed early recognition in Europe, winning her first piano competition at the age of 12, the Cherbourg-born pianist now performs extensively in the U.S.