I can still remember the day when I heard Andre Watts for the first time. He was playing this, Chopin's Revolutionary Etude Opus 10 #12. I was listening to KUSC, of of LA's two classical radio stations. Around my sophomore year, having finished Godel, Escher, Bach, it seemed to me that I should start listening to...well Bach. And taking the normal route, I started listening for preludes and fugues. I already was familiar with the Brandenburg concertos through Walter Carlos, so I'd expand. KUSC had a night dedicated to that, (remember classical station program guides?) Then out of nowhere comes this incredibly dense, passionate and powerful stuff. Blew my freakin' mind.
It was Watts' live concert that probably went down in history. He broke two strings on the concert piano that night at Lincoln Center and he was up for his second or third encore when he played Liszt's Transcendental Etude #10, another instant favorite.
Somewhere, I still have a cassette tape recording of that very radio broadcast. On the other side of it was the Art of Noise and Malcolm McLaren, my other two musical loves of the early 80s.