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Paul Watkins

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Paul Watkins
Professor Adjunct of Cello Yale School of Music
At YSM Since: 2018
Award(s): 2 Grammy Award nominations, Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Medallion of Distinction – State University of New York (Honorary Distinguished Professor), Royal Philharmonic Society Award – Chamber Ensemble of the Year (Nash Ensemble), Leeds Conducting Competition Winner (2002).
My teaching method is simple: I listen to and comment on the work presented to me as if the student is preparing for a performance at a major professional venue. I encourage my students to listen to all the facets of the music they are playing – intonation, balance, blend, character and structure, for example – in an intense and detailed way. I also ask them many questions, in an effort to develop a heightened awareness of their work. I have endeavored to step back from a “spoon-feeding” teaching approach, and encourage my students to evaluate their own performances during each lesson. My goal is to give my students the self-critical faculties and, above all, confidence to go independently into the demanding but extraordinarily fulfilling profession they have chosen.

Paul Watkins

My teaching method is simple: I listen to and comment on the work presented to me as if the student is preparing for a performance at a major professional venue. I encourage my students to listen to all the facets of the music they are playing – intonation, balance, blend, character and structure, for example – in an intense and detailed way. I also ask them many questions, in an effort to develop a heightened awareness of their work. I have endeavored to step back from a “spoon-feeding” teaching approach, and encourage my students to evaluate their own performances during each lesson. My goal is to give my students the self-critical faculties and, above all, confidence to go independently into the demanding but extraordinarily fulfilling profession they have chosen.

Acclaimed for his inspirational performances and eloquent musicianship, cellist Paul Watkins enjoys a distinguished career as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, and conductor. Appointed Principal Cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra at age 20, he performs regularly as a concerto soloist with major orchestras throughout the world, including eight concerto appearances at the BBC Proms. A dedicated chamber musician, Watkins was a member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 to 2013 and joined the Emerson String Quartet in May 2013. In 2014, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. Watkins also maintains a busy career as a conductor and, since winning the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition, has conducted all the major British orchestras and many others in the USA, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Watkins has made over 70 recordings, including 18 solo albums for Chandos, as well as chamber music discs for Decca Gold, Deustche Grammophon and Hyperion.

At the Yale School of Music, Watkins teaches a studio of graduate-level cellists, coaches chamber ensembles, and directs the Yale Cellos with Assistant Professor Adjunct of Cello Ole Akahoshi. He has been featured in performance many times at Yale as a member of the Emerson String Quartet.

Born in 1970, Watkins studied cello with William Pleeth, Melissa Phelps, and Johannes Goritzki. He plays on an instrument made by Domenico Montagnana and Matteo Goffriller in Venice, circa 1730.

Performances
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, European Union Youth Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music@Menlo, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Festival.