Obituary: Conductor and pianist Ardean Walton Watts, 89

Posted on: July 25, 2017

“Ardean Walton Watts—former associate conductor for the Utah Symphony and University of Utah music professor—has died,” writes Jennifer Dobner in Saturday’s (7/22) Salt Lake Tribune. “Watts, a longtime pianist, died Friday…. Watts was raised in Idaho [and earned] a degree in music theory from Brigham Young University in 1952. … Maurice Abravanel, the symphony’s conductor for more than 30 years, hired Watts as a pianist in the 1950s, a job he kept for 22 years. Near the halfway point in his tenure, Watts became an associate conductor, serving in that capacity for 11 years…. For more than three decades, Watts was a professor in the University of Utah’s music school, where he ‘taught virtually every class offered,’ … a department website says. He developed three courses in the use of electronic synthesizers and one on ‘electronic music and modern culture.’ … Watts was the founder of the University of Utah Opera Company and, for 13 years, was its artistic director, producer and conductor…. A mushroom expert who founded the Mushroom Society of Utah, Watts was renowned for his knowledge of various species.”

Posted July 25, 2017