|Flourish Online Magazine||Spring 2010|
Faculty Spotlight: David Watkins
Sharing his music
By Cheryl Anderson Brown
Hear David Watkins perform
Piano Concerto No. 3
with the KSU Orchestra
8 p.m., March 17, 2010.
Photo by Linda Tincher
Maybe it is a cliché, but it is true: Professor of Piano David Watkins is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. His debonair demeanor belies a quiet sense of humor, but his most notable quality is his dedication—to music, to service and, most importantly, to his students. Now, after nearly three decades at Kennesaw State, he is planning to retire at the end of this school year.
Watkins has had a full career as a concert pianist and teacher. One of his earliest achievements was receiving the prestigious Atlanta Music Club Scholarship to study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He completed both the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees there. Then, he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1986. Later, he was added to the roster of International Steinway Artists. Along the way, he accompanied Metropolitan Opera sopranos Irene Jordan, Linda Zoghby and Patricia Craig in recital. He toured with cellist Roger Drinkall. He performed solo recitals and concerti around the country and he recorded two commercial CDs.
Watkins served his profession by taking on leadership roles in several music organizations, including four years as president of the American Matthay Association and two as president of the Georgia Music Teachers Association. He believes strongly in giving back. Inspired in part by the scholarship that launched his career, he was one of the first to endow a scholarship for music students at KSU and he has continued contributing to that endowment every year.
“What music does for people, whether playing the violin or singing, is to allow them to express themselves as fully as possible,” he says. “My goal is to help them achieve that.”
He has met that goal in his studio every day of his tenure at KSU. His students are proof of his success. They have been accepted into the nation’s top graduate programs, have performed around the world and have won accolades and awards at state, national and international levels.
With his retirement, Watkins will have more time to concertize and to focus on projects like his current project for ACA Digital Recordings that will feature the unpublished works of David Berg, former chairman of the piano department at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. However, he promises not to stray too far from teaching or from the KSU School of Music.
“I’m still going to be teaching. It is what I love and I will never stop doing it.”