Tony Watt accepts faculty position at Berklee

The busiest bluegrass in Boston may be Tony Watt, who in addition to being a flat picker for hire, also teaches privately in the area, both in person and online, hosts the continuing Bluegrass Tuesdays concerts and jams in Cambridge, and serves as Vice President of the Boston Bluegrass Union.

Tony now has another feather in his cap, as he has accepted a faculty position at the Berklee College of Music. The prestigious institution in Boston’s Fenway area has a long reputation as a jazz school, but has opened up to bluegrass this past two decades, turning out top level graduates like Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle along the way.

Most recently bluegrass fans may have seen Tony playing guitar with Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. His education was actually in a STEM field, and Watt moved to the northeast initially planning to complete his graduate program and work in renewable energy. But in a most unusual twist of fate, he found a career in bluegrass music instead.

He explained a bit about his new position and duties at Berklee.

“Teaching bluegrass at Berklee is a dream come true for me that I never could have imagined when I first started teaching many years ago. I am now an Associate Professor in Berklee’s Ensemble Department, taking over for Dave Hollender who taught at Berklee for 37 years. I am so grateful to both Dave and Matt Glaser for recommending me for this position, and to the other professors in the American Roots Music Program at Berklee, especially Joe K. Walsh and Greg Liszt.

My primary role will be coaching bluegrass ensembles, which thankfully is something I have many years of experience doing. Students in my ensembles will be preparing music for performances both at Berklee and at Bluegrass Tuesdays, which I now host. I also hope to offer some bluegrass guitar instruction, although I will never be able to fill the giant shoes of the late, great John McGann.

I have been privileged to witness the rise of bluegrass at Berklee, and I am so thankful to be able to contribute to the education of such talented young people. Having just started the job, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole experience, but this is without a doubt, the honor of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Congratulations to Tony Watt and to Berklee on this move!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.