Born in 1970, Paul Watkins is a classical cellist and conductor. He is brother to Huw Watkins, the acclaimed pianist, and studied cello with such respected names as William Pleeth, Melissa Phelps and Johannes Goritzki.
In 1988 he won Young Musician of the Year in string section and went on, from 1990 to 1997, to play as principle cellist in the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of the Nash Ensemble and has made several recordings in this capacity. Paul was also musician-in-residence at the 2005 Fishguard Festival.
Paul Watkins has appeared five times at the BBC Proms, including at the 2007 First Night and in March 2006, premiered a new concerto by Richard Rodney Bennett with Philharmonia at South Bank Centre which he recorded two months later. Other commercial recordings include the premier recording of Cyril Scott's cello concerto.
Further to his career as a cellist, Paul Watkins maintains an active interest in conducting and won both First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2002 Leeds Conductor's Competition. His first experience conducting with the London Philharmonic Orchestra was om February 2006, following which he went on to sign an initial 3year contract from the 2010 season. In the 2013-2014 season, he will be joining the Emerson String Quartet, replacing the departed cellist David Finckel.
In the 2009/2010 season, he became the first ever music director of the English Chamber Orchestra following two successful years as associate conductor of the orchestra.