Huw Watkins was born in Wales in 1976. He studied piano with Peter Lawson at Chetham’s School of Music and composition with Robin Holloway, Alexander Goehr and Julian Anderson at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. In 2001 he was awarded the Constant and Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music. He now teaches composition at the Royal Academy of Music.
As a pianist, Huw Watkins is in great demand with orchestras and festivals including the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, the BBC orchestras and Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals. He has performed globally at concert halls including the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, the Library of Congress in Washington, Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Institute in NY. Strongly committed to the performance of new music, Huw has recently had piano concertos written for him by Philip Cashian, Helen Grime and Tansy Davies.
UK recent appearances include Wigmore Hall, Kettle’s Yard Cambridge, Saffron Walden and Glasgow. Further afield, he has performed in Italy, Germany, France, Hungary, Portugal, Lincoln Center, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit, Kristiansand Orchestra in Norway, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Domaine Forget and the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
A favorite partner for chamber collaborations, Huw Watkins performs regularly with his brother Paul Watkins, as well as Tamsin Waley-Cohen. Recently Huw has featured as both composer in residence and pianist at festivals including West Cork Chamber Music, Presteigne and Lars Vogt’s ‘Spannungen’ Festival in Heimbach, Germany.
Huw Watkins is one of Britain’s foremost composers and his music has been performed throughout Europe and North America. Huw’s works have been performed and commissioned by the Nash Ensemble, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Belcea and Elias Quartet, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Highlights include his acclaimed Violin Concerto premiered at the BBC Proms by Alina Ibragimova and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner; Piano Concerto premiered by BBC NOW; London Concerto premiered to mark the London Symphony Orchestra’s centenary; Double Concerto premiered at the BBC Proms with BBC NOW, conducted by Jac van Steen; and In My Craft or Sullen Art for tenor and string quartet premiered at Wigmore Hall by Mark Padmore and the Petersen Quartet. Most recently Huw’s cello concerto was premiered at the Proms in 2016 and performed by Paul Watkins (cello), BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Thomas Søndergård, conductor.
From 2012–14 Huw was in-house composer with the Orchestra of the Swan. He is currently composer-in-association with BBC NOW and won the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center 2016 Elise L. Stoeger Prize in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition.
Huw Watkins is regularly featured on BBC Radio 3, both as a performer and as a composer. His recordings include a disc of Mendelssohn’s cello and piano works with his brother Paul Watkins (Chandos), British sonatas for cello and piano with Paul Watkins (Nimbus), Alexander Goehr’s piano cycle ‘Symmetry Disorders Reach’ (Wergo), and Thomas Adès’ song cycle ‘The Lover in Winter’ with the countertenor Robin Blaze (EMI Classics). NMC Records have released a disc dedicated to Huw Watkins’ work entitled ‘In my craft of sullen art’ (NMC). The disc showcases Huw’s ‘outstanding pianism’ (Andrew Clements, The Guardian) and reveals him as ‘one of the most rounded composer-musicians in the UK’ (Andrew Clark, Financial Times).