Mark Watters

Associate Professor of Contemporary Media & Film Composition
Director, Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media

Emmy Award-winning composer and conductor Mark Watters’ vast resume includes music for motion pictures, television, DVD, video games, and special events such as the Olympics. In addition to serving as director of the Beal Institute, Watters oversees Eastman’s newly established Master of Music degree in Contemporary Media/Film Composition and teaches graduate courses.

Watters holds the distinction of serving as music director for two Olympics—the 1996 Centennial Games in Atlanta and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City—which garnered him two of his six Emmys.  He also received Emmys for Outstanding Music Direction for Movies Rock; Outstanding Music for True Life Adventure Alaska: Dances of the Caribou; and two Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Daytime Awards for Disney’s, Aladdin and Steven Spielberg’s, Tiny Toon Adventures.

Watters’ film credits include scores for MGM’s The Pebble and the Penguin and All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, and for Disney’s Doug’s First Movie and Get a Horse, the Oscar nominated animated short featuring characters from 1920s Mickey Mouse cartoons that accompanied the theatrical release of Frozen. In addition, his music can be heard on almost two dozen direct-to-video/DVD releases, including Aladdin and the King of Thieves, The Return of Jafar, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, and Winnie-the-Pooh and Springtime with Roo.

Television viewers have heard his music across several networks and channels including CBS, ABC, NBC, Hallmark, and Disney on such series as Paradise and The Little Mermaid, made-for-TV movies including The Longshot, and documentaries such as Medal of Honor and the nature series True Life Adventures. Watters has also created original scores for theater productions of The Raft of the MedusaSnitch, and Hamlet. Watters’s video games music oeuvre includes Coraline, two Ben 10 installments, Toy Story 3Cars ManiaDisney Princesses 1 and 2, and Disney Fairies: Tinkerbell.

Watters has guest conducted such orchestras such the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the New York Pops, and many others. In 2002, John Williams asked him to co-conduct the Academy Awards.  In 2015, Watters led the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in a concert saluting 90 years of Disney animation, for which he also wrote new scores for two recently discovered late-1920’s “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” shorts. He conducted three “Star Wars in Concert” tours, including one in Japan with the Tokyo Philharmonic. In 2019, he guest conducted the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in live-to-picture performances of Star Wars: A New Hope.

In addition, Watters has worked as a conductor for individual artists Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé, Mary Jo Blige, John Legend, Sting, Barry Manilow, Jessye Norman, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and others.

Before joining the Eastman faculty, Watters also taught film scoring at the UCLA Extension and for Columbia College of Chicago. He is a former president of the Society of Composers and Lyricists and served several terms on the prestigious Television Academy’s Board of Governors and was Co-Chair of the Academy’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards Committee. Recent projects include serving as music director for the highly acclaimed animated series “Have A Laugh,” a three-year project to restore and re-record 60 classic Disney shorts from the ’30s and ’40s.