Larry Watson, a 1974 SUNY Oswego graduate and renowned performer, will present an admission-free evening of emotional music, exploration and recollections at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre and via livestream.

Titled “American Fruit With African Roots: A Black Swan Song by an Affirmative Action Baby,” the show will spotlight original compositions in the African American musical forms commonly referred to as blues, jazz, gospel, soul, Motown and commercial-popular songs. 

A professor in the Berklee College of Music, Watson has more than 35 years of performing experience throughout the world. 

During the 90-minute concert, Watson will include elements reflecting on his years at Oswego and upstate New York as well as changing political and social movements including contemporary civil and human rights initiatives occurring in the United States and internationally. 

The concert will feature Watson leading a nine-piece band and appearances by several members of SUNY Oswego’s Gospel Choir.

Watson’s recordings include “The Journey,” “Prescriptions” and "American Fruit with African Roots," from which he will draw many selections for the performance. He has appeared on TV shows, films and the documentary “American Experience: The Fisk Jubilee Singers” on PBS, and played major music festivals and venues all over the world.  

Watson recently added to his credentials by publishing a long-awaited book of original music and all-time classic standards. Titled “H.E.M,” it stands for and focuses on what he refers to as “Highly Emotional Music.” The book offers 33 classic songs with accompanying illustrations by young artists of color in this insightful look at the social history of people of African descent through their popular musical forms.

His activities also include serving as founder and executive director of Save Ourselves Productions and Consulting, which also encompasses international musical and educational efforts.

Double-majoring in education and history, Watson was among the first Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students to attend SUNY Oswego under this transformative New York state program.

During his time at SUNY Oswego, Watson also was roommates with future superstar comedian Jerry Seinfeld, in what has been described as a groundbreaking friendship.

The Feb. 6 concert is co-organized by SUNY Oswego’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA) Dean’s Office, Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, and the Music Department.

Funding for this event is provided by SUNY Oswego’s Artswego Performing Arts Series, Department of Student Engagement and Leadership, and SCMA Dean’s Office, as well as CommonBondz, Inc., a not-for-profit organization co-founded by 1987 SUNY Oswego graduate Michael DeCandido.

SUNY Oswego’s student-run TV station WTOP will produce a livestream, with free virtual tickets available via

For any other questions, contact the box office at or 315-312-3073.