Cornelia Watkins received her Bachelor of Music degree from Hartt School of Music, where she studied with David Wells, and a Master of Music degree as a fellowship recipient at the University of Houston under the tutelage of Hans Jørgen Jensen. Ms Watkins is an active freelance cellist, performing with the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Theatre Under The Stars, the Bach Society, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the Alley Theater, and numerous Broadway musicals.
Ms Watkins has maintained a class of cello students since her college days in Connecticut, first as a teaching assistant to David Wells, continuing professionally at several preparatory and music schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. As cello instructor for the Michael Hammond Preparatory Division at the Shepherd School, her students regularly perform in Texas All-Region and All-State Orchestras, and many have attended top-rated music conservatories and become professional musicians themselves. Ms. Watkins has also taught at several summer workshops including the Texas Music Festival, Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO) and the American Festival for the Arts in Houston. She has also adjudicated at many festivals and competitions, including Schmidbauer International Young Artist Competition at Stephen F. Austin University.
Music pedagogy has become a significant part of Ms Watkins’ work. Besides lecturing at the Shepherd School, she is a regular guest lecturer in the Music and Human Learning department at the University of Texas. Ms. Watkins gives teaching clinics and master classes across the country, including at local, state and nationally-sponsored conferences of American String Teachers Association, Music Educators National Conference, Music Teachers National Association and Suzuki Association of the Americas. From 2006-08 she served as national chairperson of American String Teacher Association’s Committee on Studio Instruction, and served for six years as the Private Teacher Representative on the board of TexASTA. Since 2004 she has been an active committee member and advocate of Wisconsin CMP (Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance), an organization promoting excellence in music teaching, participating every summer in the annual teaching training workshop.
Ms Watkins is the author of Rosindust: Teaching, Learning and Life from a Cellist’s Perspective, and co-author of From the Stage to the Studio: How Fine Musicians Become Great Teachers, published by Oxford University Press in 2012. She has written articles and reviews for American String Teacher, Wisconsin School Musician, and The Strad. Ms. Watkins is currently working on a second edition of Rosindust, and has been named editor of the Cello Forum for American String Teacher beginning in 2014.