We are pleased to announce that Dr. Howard Watkins has been named a Presidential Visiting Fellow at Yale and will serve as a coach and collaborative pianist for the Yale Opera program during the spring 2021 semester. "Dr. Watkins has distinguished himself as a performer, educator, and leader in our field, and I am so very pleased that our students will have the opportunity to work with an artist of his stature during the spring semester," YSM Dean Robert Blocker said. "His artistry and humanity will enrich the lives and careers of our Yale Opera students."
In addition to his work as a recitalist, Dr. Watkins has appeared as a collaborative pianist with some of the most revered vocalists of our time including Kathleen Battle, Lawrence Brownlee, Grace Bumbry, Joyce DiDonato, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, and YSM alumnus Matthew Polenzani ’94MM. He has also accompanied master classes given by Håkan Hagegård, Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto, Frederica von Stade, and Shirley Verrett, among others. Dr. Watkins has worked with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the MET Chamber Ensemble and is an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera.
A sought-after pedagogue, Dr. Watkins is on the faculty of the Juilliard School, the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and the Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artist Program. He has served as a co-coordinator of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center, has taught at the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, is music director of the Brancaleoni Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy, and is a founding member of the faculty of the Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy.
Yale Opera Director Gerald Martin Moore has said, “I am beyond thrilled to have Howard join us next semester, and I know the students are incredibly excited to work with him and will benefit greatly from his vast knowledge and expertise in both opera and song.”
Dr. Watkins earned his bachelor of music degree from the University of Dayton and his master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the University of Michigan. He is the 2019 recipient of the National Opera Association’s “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award. Please join us in enthusiastically welcoming Dr. Watkins to Yale.