Emerson String Quartet

Paul Watkins, Cello

Paul WatkinsPaul Watkins enjoys a distinguished career as cellist and conductor. Born in 1970, he studied with William Pleeth, Melissa Phelps and Johannes Goritzki, and was appointed principal cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1990 at the age of 20. He made his concerto debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra under Yakov Kreizberg. He now performs regularly with all the major British orchestras (including seven appearances at the BBC Proms) and many overseas orchestras including the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the RAI National Symphony Orchestra of Turin. A member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 to 2013, Mr. Watkins joined the Emerson String Quartet in May 2013. He is a regular participant at festivals and chamber music series, including New York’s Lincoln Center and Music@Menlo, and regularly performs with the world’s finest musicians, including Menahem Pressler, Jaime Laredo, Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff and Vadim Repin. Highlights of recent seasons include solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and Queens Hall, Edinburgh, his debut at Carnegie Hall performing Brahms’s Double Concerto with Daniel Hope, as well as the premiere of a new concerto written especially for him by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Recent releases under his exclusive Chandos Records contract include Britten’s Cello Symphony, the Delius, Elgar and Lutoslawski cello concertos, and discs of Martinu’s and Mendelssohn’s music for cello and piano, and an ongoing series of Britsh sonatas with his brother Huw Watkins. In 2009 he became the first ever Music Director of the English Chamber Orchestra, and also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2009 to 2012. Since winning the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition he has conducted all the major British orchestras, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Swedish and Vienna Chamber Orchestras, Prague Symphony, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Tampere Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony, Queensland and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestras.

Cello: Domenico Montagnana and Matteo Goffriller in Venice, c.1730.