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Department of Performing Arts & Visual Culture
During the course of a career that spans more than 40 years, Carl Atkins has distinguished himself as a conductor, composer, woodwind specialist, arts administrator, arts consultant, and musicologist. His experience has covered a broad spectrum of music ranging from European concert music to “Jazz”. Among his credits are performances and recordings with such noted organizations and artists as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Columbus (Ohio) Pro Musica, the Boston Musica Viva, the American National Opera Co., the Boston Opera Co., the Black Collective of New York, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the John Coltrane Memorial Orchestra, Gunther Schuller, George Russell, David Baker, Bill Evans, Jaki Byard, and Herbie Hancock, among others.
Atkins received the Bachelor of Music from Indiana University, the Master of Music from the New England Conservatory, and the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. He is the founding chair of the Jazz and Afro-American Music Department at the New England Conservatory, the former President and Executive Director of the David Hochstein School of Music and Dance, and former President and CEO of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council for the Arts. Atkins has been a member of the Board of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, serving as chair of the board from 1993-1998. In 2006 he received the Guild’s President’s Award for Service to Community Arts Education.
Dr. Atkins has been a member of the faculties of the New England Conservatory, Northeastern University, the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music. He has been Co-Director, with jazz bass legend Ron Carter, of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory, where he also held the position of Associate Dean for Advanced Studies. Currently, Dr. Atkins is Professor of Performing Arts-Music at the Rochester Institute of Technology.