BIOGRAPHY Having spent the majority of his career and life as a concert pianist, his interest in music as a story-teller has always been close to his heart. "Music is a remarkable vehicle for telling compelling stories, making the unbelievable believable, and inspiring the listener. Music captures the imagination immediately; it engages the senses all at once by suspending reality." Watkins has worked with film music legends like Henry Mancini, Lee Holdridge, Dudley Moore, Gordon Goodwin, Richard Kaufman, and Randy Newman. As featured pianist, he's collaborated in performance with Holdridge in concert performances of music from On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, and others. He's also worked closely with Head of Music Services at MGM studios, Richard Kaufman. Watkins studied film scoring with Lee Holdridge at Brevard Music Center, and composition with Joel Hoffman at The Cincinnati Conservatory, Gordon Goodwin at The University of South Carolina, and with John Boda at The Florida State University. With 30 years experience on the world’s concert stages, Watkins brings his knowledge of music performance and composition together at Jacksonville University where he works closely with film professor and director Carolina Conte, and with composition students. Watkins is no stranger to America’s finest composers, having given world premieres of music by Elie Siegmeister and Ned Rorem. At Jacksonville University he has performed new works of fellow composers William Schirmer, Jianjun He, and Tony Steve. A devoted educator, Watkins has also performed the works of student composers. Watkins' first major collaborative project as composer is a feature-length psychological thriller, “hedDA,” based upon Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, directed by Conte. The large, complicated score for this film was recorded by the Jacksonville University Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Watkins. He is also composed the music for Mark O'Brien and Charles F. Beyer on their soon-to-be-released feature film "Walking Through Fires." Recently Watkins, along with percussionist/composer Tony Steve and violinist Marguerite Richardson recorded Watkins' bold score for the sci-fi short "Soul in the Machine," directed by Carlos Rodriguez. He has also created a score for Mac McDonald’s 48-hour project, a sci-fi short titled "Handle With Care." Watkins has lectured to the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association on music and film. More recently Watkins has been working on reconstructing and re-imagining music from vintage radio dramas. His credits in this arena include Bernard Hermann's "War of the Worlds," and "Dracula," both produced in the 1930s by The Mercury Theatre on the Air, starring Orson Welles. His other radio music adaptations include productions of the Lux Radio Theatre's "39 Steps," "Miracle on 34th Street," and "Casablanca," inspired by Louis Silvers and Robert Armstrong. As a pianist and researcher, Watkins is interested in the music of American composer Howard Hanson, on whose compositions and career he has lectured nationally and internationally. Watkins is the editor of Hanson's "Symphonic Rhapsody, Op. 14," for solo piano, published by Carl Fischer.