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Donald Watts was Professor of Music Theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music from 2008 until 2018. In addition to core music theory courses, he taught graduate seminars and supervised DMA document preparation for CIM. Prior to 2008, Watts taught at Towson University, where he remains Professor Emeritus. He holds a Ph.D. in music theory from the University of Maryland. He has presented at sessions of the Society for Music Theory and was a pre-concert lecturer for the Cleveland Chamber Music Society. His main research interests are the analysis of French music written between 1880 and 1930, music theory pedagogy, music cognition, and the intersection of analysis and performance.

Watts was an active professional cellist in the Baltimore area for many years. He holds B.M. and M.M. degrees in cello performance from the University of Kansas, where he studied with Raymond Stuhl. He later continued studies with Robert Newkirk at the Catholic University of America. He has performed in many Baltimore and Washington venues, and he has recorded for Orion and Cycling โ€™74 Records. A respected string pedagogue, Watts has presented at conferences of the American String Teachers Association and has published in their journal American String Teacher. His cello students have been accepted into some of the countryโ€™s top music schools.