David Watkin was an Instrumental Award holder and a Choral Scholar at Cambridge, where he read Music whilst also studying the cello with William Pleeth and singing with Kenneth Bowen.
Few other musicians have achieved prominence at the highest level in both 'period instrument' and 'modern' worlds: David Watkin is Principal Cello of the English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, and was Principal Cello of the OAE, and of the Philharmonia Orchestra for five years before joining the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Sir Charles Mackerras was quoted in the BBC Music Magazine: “He not only brings that dedicated scholarly view of playing characteristic of period instrument specialists, but he plays with such huge commitment. He is a great inspiration to me, especially in Mozart.”
His recordings include cello sonatas by Vivaldi (Hyperion), Beethoven (Chandos), Francis Pott (Guild) and Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Virgin). He has been a frequent soloist at Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, appeared at Barbican, Lincoln Center, New York and as a guest artist with, among others Fredericka von Stade and the Tokyo Quartet. David is a member of the Eroica Quartet which has astonished critics with its radical performances of the music of the early Romantics. They have performed all over Europe and the USA, including a recent return to the Library of Congress, and recorded to great acclaim the complete quartets of Mendelssohn and Schumann and a Beethoven disc (hmusa). Their world premiere recording of the original 1825 version of Mendelssohn’s Octet was released on Resonus Classics earlier this year. Unaccompanied Bach has taken him all over Europe from Frederick the Great’s Palace at Potsdam to Prague Spring Festival and performances at Eisenach on the three days of Easter, sitting by the font in which Bach was baptised, as part of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage.
He has taught, lectured and led workshops on performance practice all over Europe and been a juror at international competitions. His writings about music have been published by Cambridge University Press, Early Music and The Strad and he was recently invited by leading expert Prof. Clive Brown to be on the advisory board of Leeds University Centre for Historical Informed Performance.
Conducting is increasingly part of his music making. He has studied in classes with George Hurst and Jorma Panula, and was nominated for the Arts Foundation Award for conducting. He now makes regular appearances at RSAMD, Edinburgh University Chamber Orchestra and the Meadows Chamber Orchestra. As part of RSAMD students’ concerto assessments, he conducted the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in performances of Elgar and Enescu. He has also conducted Linden Baroque, the orchestras of the Royal Academy of Music, the combined UK Music Colleges and the Concerto Final of the 2009 Scottish International Double Bass Competition. He directed the 20th Anniversary concert of the Swedish Baroque Orchestra and has directed the SCO in Scotland, London, and on a European tour which included the Konzerthaus, Vienna and Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and on BBC Radio 3. Plans for this year include a St Matthew Passion with Manchester Consort and visits to European festivals directing the Academy of Ancient Music. Next year he will conduct SCO in Haydn Symphonies No. 6,7 and 8.