Richard Watkins was Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra for twelve years, and is currently a member of the Nash Ensemble and is a founding member of London Winds.
Watkins has appeared at many of the world's most prestigious venues and has worked with conductors such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vasily Petrenko, Andrew Davis and Mark Elder.
His extensive discography includes recordings of concertos by Mozart, Malcolm Arnold, Reinhold Glière, Ethel Smyth and Colin Matthews, as well as Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and chamber music for horn by Schumann, Schubert and Poulenc. Forthcoming releases include a recording of contemporary horn repertoire for NMC of works written for Watkins, a Wigmore Live disc of Britten, and Edward Gregson's Horn Concerto.
In recital, Watkins regularly performs with singers such as John Mark Ainsley, Ian Bostridge and Mark Padmore, and with pianists Barry Douglas, Julius Drake, Paul Lewis, Roger Vignoles and Ian Brown.
Closely associated with promoting contemporary music for the horn, Watkins has given premieres of concertos by Peter Maxwell Davies, Osborne, Magnus Lindberg, Dominic Muldowney, Nicola Lefanu, and Colin and David Matthews. Watkins holds the Dennis Brain Chair of Horn Playing at the Royal Academy of Music where he is also a Fellow.
Watkins has a long association with Aldeburgh Music, first performing Britten's Serenade with Sir Peter Pears in 1983. Since then he has appeared regularly as soloist and recitalist, performing concertos by Colin Matthews and Oliver Knussen as well as performances of Britten.s works for solo horn, the Serenade and Canticles.
'...the ensemble is particularly impressive in the hushed sections, playing with exquisite beauty and control...'more >>Crescendo
'...extraordinary performances, aided by top-notch soloists..few recordings satisfy as much as this one, with deliberate, but intense, readings...'more >>Forum Opera
« Le piano de Lorenzo Soulès en offre une interprétation étincelante...Le raffinement de Britten est servi en maître dans ce jalon d'une musique. »more >>BBC Music Magazine
'In the following Tennyson song, "Nocturne", aided by the Aldeburgh Strings' splendidly evocative playing, Clayton sounds suitably heroic at the final "Blow, bugle, blow"...Lorenzo Soules plays Young Apollo's glittering piano part with charismatic dash...'more >>Voix des Arts
Recording of the Month: 'Clayton establishes himself as a triumphantly worthy successor to Pears...Clayton's voice is both more beautiful and more secure throughout the range than Pears's, but the forthrightness with which he limns the distress of lines like ‘O rose, thou art sick' recalls Pears's interpretive perspicuity.'more >>Pizzicato
'..the soloists are one and all excellent, as are the exceptionally good Aldeburgh Strings.'more >>The Guardian
'urgent, vibrant and punchy'more >>The Sunday Times
'These performances by the Aldeburgh-inspired ensemble vividly affirm Britten's genius.'more >>Gramophone
'All are performances to be recommended.'more >>MusicWeb International
'One is struck by the beauty and security of their quiet playing - a virtue which comes to the fore also in the gorgeously lyrical Prelude. The accompanying Fugue, meanwhile, is a contrapuntal tour de force, and tossed off here with notable verve and aplomb.'more >>Der neue Merker
'Britten's short but magnificent tone poem…bursts with radiant vitality, rises in iridescent tones before us...'more >>Classic FM
'...the playing of the hornist Richard Watkins is also truly exceptional...a performance so worth treasuring.'more >>