Dr. Howard Potter has served as Professor and Head of the Department of Music at Oklahoma State University since July 2016. Prior to coming to OSU, Potter served as Associate Dean of Community and Continuing Education at the Eastman School of Music where he was also Associate Professor of Jazz Mallets (part-time) and the founder and director of the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra. Before his tenure at Eastman, he served as Chair of the Performing Arts Department of the Manilas Pebble Hill School in Syracuse, NY and founder and director of the 315 All Stars (award winning scholastic big band - winners of the 2001 Essentially Ellington International HS Competition).
As a veteran artist/teacher and administrator, Dr. Potter has taught and led at the elementary, middle, high school, collegiate, and community school levels. At Eastman, Potter's teaching assignments included jazz theory and improvisation, jazz orchestra direction, and applied jazz mallet keyboards. Potter has also taught all instruments in group settings, conducted bands, wind ensembles, orchestras, and a wide array of chamber ensembles from contemporary percussion ensembles to chamber strings, world and new-music ensembles at all levels from elementary school to professional. He also founded the West Point Youth Orchestra.
Dr. Potter's background is steeped in both the classical western tradition, and the jazz, blues, rock, and world music traditions. Potter grew up in Tunisia, Ghana, Argentina, and Brazil with stops in between, in both NY State (Stony Point) and Washington, DC. His music studies started in middle school in Argentina with the trumpet and gradually moved toward percussion by high school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Rio he played regularly in nightclubs with Brazilian samba and bossa nova artists. After graduating from high school Potter played five years, full-time on the road in jazz/rock clubs all across the USA before deciding to attend college.
With over 40 years' professional performing experience, Howard Potter has been a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, NY; performed as a freelance and Broadway musician in NYC; performed with numerous orchestras, studio and pit orchestras, and wind ensembles, including several Off-Broadway theater companies, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Erie Philharmonic, and the National Orchestral Association at Carnegie Hall. Dr. Potter is also active as a chamber musician having played jazz vibes in numerous ensembles in Rochester and Western NY (including as featured vibraphonist with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble) as well as having been a long-standing member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Marimba Band. Potter has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Eastman Theater, Boston's Symphony Hall, Alice Tully Halls to Tanglewood, Saratoga, Wolf Trap, and the Chautauqua Institute, to Broadway, to many other renowned classical stages.
Howard Potter holds degrees from the State University of New York at Fredonia (BM), the Eastman School of Music (MM), The Juilliard School (Post-Graduate Artist Diploma), and the Manhattan School of Music (DMA). His principal teachers have included: David Samuels, Fred Hinger, Buster Bailey, John Beck, Ted Frazier, Alan Dawson, and Alfredo Roel. Potter has served on the executive boards of the: Onondaga County Music Educators Association (1998-2002), the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra board of advisors (2003-08), the board of advisors for the Society for New Music in Syracuse, NY (1997-2001), the board of advisors for RocMusic (Rochester Music - 2011-16), the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, and has served as Chair of the Eastern Great Lakes Chapter of the National Guild (2008-14).
Dr. Potter is delighted to be at OSU with one foot in creative, scholarly activities of an active artist/teacher and the other foot in the affairs of school leadership working towards creating an open teaching and learning community and fostering collaborative projects among students, faculty, and community members. Howard Potter s married and the father of three children. Next to being a husband and father, his greatest source of pride is being a teacher and sharing his love of music with his students.