As Principal Cello in some of the world’s leading ensembles – English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – David Watkin has played a key role at the heart of some ground-breaking performances.
He has made a wide range of solo recordings: of Vivaldi (Hyperion) Beethoven (Chandos) and Francis Pott (Guild), Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante with OAE (Virgin), Schubert Quintet with the Tokyo Quartet (hmusa) and, for release in 2015, Bach Suites (Resonus). He has been a soloist at Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York and performed the Schumann Concerto with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and ORR at Lincoln Center, New York. As a guest artist he has collaborated with, among others, Robert Levin and Fredericka von Stade.
He has played solo Bach at Bach’s birthplace in Eisenach, at Frederick the Great’s Palace, in the Prague Spring Festival and featured in Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s TV programme “Bach, A Passionate Life”. He is a juror for the Leipzig Bach Competition. David recorded the Cello Suites by J.S. Bach, rightly considered as the pinnacle of writing for solo cello. The six Suites are recorded on gut strings and on two original historic instruments of note. The CD has received excellent reviews.
As a member of the Eroica Quartet he has performed all over Europe and the US and their recordings of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Debussy and Ravel have received great acclaim.
He read Music at Cambridge whilst studying the cello with William Pleeth and singing with Kenneth Bowen. He was a Shell/LSO Finalist, received the Bulgin Medal and was Principal cello in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Conducting is now a major part of his music making.
In 2015, David’s recording of Bach’s Cello Suites won the Baroque Instrumental award from Gramophone Classical Music.