Dr. Tommy L. Watson
TOMMY L. WATSON, lyric baritone, has a varied background as singer, voice teacher, vocal coach, music director, and now Director of Opera Workshop at Anderson University. Watson made his operatic debut in Cortona, Italy while performing a charming and critically acclaimed Pascariello in Domenico Cimarosa’s opera Li Sposi Per Accidenti. He has seen other success on stage while appearing with the South Carolina Opera Theatre and Brevard Music Center including: the Commendatore in Gazzaniga’s Don Giovanni, Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen, Tobia Mill in Rossini’s The Marriage Contract, Strombone in Pergolesi’s La Vedova Ingegnosa, Luther in Jacques Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Rocco in Beethoven’s Fidelio; among other roles. His requiem, oratorio and cantata performances include: Duruflé, Mendelssohn, Händel, Saint-Saëns, Dubois and Stainer; and has performed a sacred composition by composer John B. Valerio entitled In This Dark Hour.
As a concert artist, Watson has performed professionally both internationally and nationally. Watson’s most recent international performance was in Ho, Ghana. This performance was given at the end of an intensive research study course on West African Culture through the Arts, sponsored by Ohio University. Additionally, he has given solo performances in Santa Cruz, Spain, Nassau, Bahamas and Canada. Watson has also debuted with the South Carolina Philharmonic (Nicholas Smith, conductor), Anderson Symphony, and the Benedict College Community Orchestras. He made his official debut with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (Neil Casey, conductor) as a soloist in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, USA held in Charleston, SC while performing the Concert Version of Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess.
Further, in addition to repertoire that Watson has performed professionally, his prepared standard operatic baritone roles include: Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Valentin (Faust), Hérode (Hérodiade), the Elder Germont (La Traviata), Riccardo (I Puritani), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni); and the baritone solos from Ein Deutsches Requiem (Brahms) and Requiem (Fauré).
He is a member of: National Association of Negro Musicians (Vice President for SC Chapter), Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Fraternity, Delta Omicron (an International Co-ed Music Fraternity), National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Opera Association, the Center for Black Music Research, and the South Eastern African-American Conference. In past years he has been a member of the: College Music Society, Music Educator’s National Conference, American Choral Director’s Association, and the South Carolina Music Teachers’ Association.
A graduate of Anderson College (BA in Music), Watson earned both a Master of Music and the Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees (Performance) from the University of South Carolina. He has coached with renowned artists such as the late William Warfield (Uncle Bill), John Keene, founder of Elysian Opera Group in New York City; both Mark Oswald (baritone) and George Darden of the Metropolitan Opera (New York City); and Alessandro Amoretti, Maestro of The Royal Opera, Stockholm, Sweden.
At present, Dr. Watson lives in Greenville, South Carolina and serves on the music faculty at Anderson University as Associate Professor of Music, and Founder and Director of Opera Workshop at Anderson University. While at AU, he has: earned tenure (spring 2006) and promotion to Associate Professor (spring 2008); taught the Freshmen Year Experience (FYE) class, Opera Workshop, Opera Coaching, Applied Lessons, Vocal Pedagogy, Class Voice, Song Literature Music Appreciation, Liberal Arts Lab, FA200-Experiencing the Arts, and Introduction to Gospel and Contemporary Worship Music. At this time, Watson’s teaching responsibilities include the: Freshmen Year Experience (FYE) class, FA200-Experiencing the Arts, Musical Masterworks, and Applied Lessons.