Cornelia Heard named holder of Valere Blair Potter Chair
Cornelia Heard, professor of music and chair of the strings department of the Blair School of Music, has been named the holder of the newly created Valere Blair Potter Chair.
The chair is endowed through a gift to the university by the grandchildren of Valere Blair Potter.
“We are very excited to receive this endowed chair, and most proud of this recognition by the Potter family of Connie’s accomplishments as a performer and teaching artist.”
~ Dean Mark Wait
“We are very excited to receive this endowed chair, and most proud of this recognition by the Potter family of Connie’s accomplishments as a performer and teaching artist,” said Mark Wait, Blair School dean. “This rare and valued endowment is an example of the generosity of the descendants of Valere Blair Potter to Vanderbilt University and the Blair School in particular through the generations, and it is most fitting that Connie Heard be named the recipient of this honor.”
In addition to being a much sought- after teacher in both the university and precollege schools at Blair since 1982, Heard is a violinist for the Blair String Quartet, the school’s most celebrated performing ensemble. She has performed as soloist with the North Carolina Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Vanderbilt Orchestra, Municipal Chamber Orchestra in New York, and Aspen Brandenburg Ensemble. Her students have won and been prize winners in such competitions as Music Teachers National Association National Competition, Corpus Christi International Competition, Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Montgomery and LaGrange Symphony Concerto Competitions, Curb Records/Nashville Symphony Competition, as well as local and summer festival concerto competitions. She has served as a member of the performance faculty at the Sewanee Festival, 1985-99; Killington Music Festival 2002-04; and the Aspen Music Festival 2005-07.
Valere Blair Potter, a beloved Nashville community philanthropist and volunteer, along with her daughter, Anne, and son-in-law, David K.Wilson, founded the Peabody Preparatory School of Musical Arts in 1964, under the auspices of the Potter Foundation. This well-known music academy later became the Blair School of Music, and joined Vanderbilt University in 1981. Valere Potter’s grandchildren, members of the Potter and Wilson families of Nashville and California, are the donors of the chair at the Blair School.