WAVE Magazine Fall 2018 JU_WaveMag_Fall18_2 - Page 38

Dr. Scott WATKINS Composing The F u t u re : Jacksonville's Watkins-Hanson Journey BY SHERI WEBBER '93 Dr. Scott Watkins, Professor of Piano and coordinator of keyboard studies at Jacksonville University (JU) since 2001, researches the early life of famed American composer Howard Hanson in his spare time, focusing on the years that preceded Hanson’s directorship at the Eastman School of Music (Eastman) in Rochester, New York. Watkins hopes this fresh and comprehensive look at the young, newly-motivated, and prolific musician, before he became a Pulitzer Prize winner, will inspire many. FEATURES He spent a portion of his summer in Wahoo, Nebraska, childhood home of Hanson, a research journey which began with what Watkins calls an “Indiana Jones moment.” In December of last year, Watkins shared with WAVE Magazine exactly how he unearthed the never-before published Symphonic Rhapsody, Op. 14, for Solo Piano which premiered in October 1919. “During my research, I learned that a famous Australian pianist and composer, Percy Grainger, had given a concert at the College of the Pacific where Hanson was teaching in 1920, and I had hopes of finding something from that concert. When I discovered a large, folded cardboard poster advertising the concert, I was thrilled and wondered why it was folded and tied with string. The Eastman archivist with me, David Peter Coppen, untied the string and nine pages of an unpublished manuscript—thought to have been lost— literally fell onto the table.”