Watkins, Richard

french horn

Richard Watkins is well-known as a concerto soloist and chamber music player. He was Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra from 1985 until 1996, and is currently a member of the Nash Ensemble and a founder member of London Winds.

Richard Watkins is at the forefront of promoting contemporary music for the horn. He has given premières of concertos by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Nigel Osborne, Magnus Lindberg, Dominic Muldowney, Nicola LeFanu, and Colin and David Matthews. Other premières have included James MacMillan's Quintet for Horn and Strings, Huw Watkins' Horn Trio at the Wigmore Hall in 2009 and Colin Matthews' Time Stands Still for horn, violin and piano at the 2006 Aldeburgh Festival. Watkins also premièred Britten's In Memoriam Dennis Brain, for four horns and strings, culminating in a tribute at the 2007 Proms on the 50th anniversary of Brain's death, and later recorded for NMC on Unknown Britten.

Richard Watkins is in great demand for teaching and masterclasses in Europe and the USA. He currently holds the Dennis Brain Chair of Horn at the Royal Academy of Music.

Goldberg Ensemble

Goldberg Ensemble

The Goldberg Ensemble of 11 solo strings was formed in 1982 by Malcolm Layfield. It has given broadcasts and performances in concert series and festivals throughout Britain and in Europe, South America and the Far East with soloists such as the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Barry Guy/Maya Homburger Duo, Michael Collins, Sarah Leonard, John Lill, Tasmin Little, Wayne Marshall, Raphael Wallfisch and Richard Watkins.

In the 1990s the Ensemble developed a commitment to new music and British composers, performing world premières on BBC Radio Three and appearing at new music events such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Between 2001 and 2008 the Ensemble presented an annual Celebration of New Music for Strings on Tour, presenting public concerts and workshops for schools and university music departments, taking in venues at Bristol, Birmingham, Durham, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton, Wolverhampton and York. In addition to performing existing string works written by British composers since the 1980s, new works were commissioned for the Celebration tours from: Judith Bingham, Gary Carpenter, Michael Clarke, Joe Cutler, Joe Duddell, Christopher Fox, Anthony Gilbert, Adam Gorb, Barry Guy, Nicola LeFanu, Dominic Muldowney, Paul Patterson, Thomas Simaku, Howard Skempton and Benjamin Wallfisch.

Layfield, Malcolm


Since founding the Goldberg Ensemble in 1982, Malcolm Layfield has become well known to audiences as its director and conductor, and has appeared with the ensemble in concerts and on radio and television throughout the world. He is leader of the London Bach Orchestra, whom he has directed in London and throughout Europe, and has appeared as guest leader and soloist with many orchestras including the City of London Sinfonia, the Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square, the Northern Sinfonia, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

As a conductor, Malcolm has performed at numerous festivals throughout Europe, South America and the Far East as well as directing many performances with Goldberg Festival Opera; he has commissioned works for the Goldberg Ensemble from many distinguished composers.

In 2001, Malcolm was appointed Head of School of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music and in 2005 was elected to the Board of Governors of the college. In 2007 he was made a Fellow of the RNCM and in 2008 was awarded a Personal Professorial Chair. In 2009 he was appointed Dean of Performance Studies. He also pursues a busy international teaching schedule, giving masterclasses in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

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This new recording features a collection of works for string ensemble commissioned by the Goldberg Ensemble including Roger Marsh's haunting Canto 1, based on Dante's Paradiso; Nicola LeFanu's lyrical Amores for horn and string ensemble; Anthony Gilbert's Palace of the Winds inspired by the elaborately ornate Hawa Mahal palace in Jaipur and Geoffrey Poole's Crossing Ohashi Bridge, an abstract work inspired by chaos mathematics such as fractals, Mandelbrot sets, and named after the Hiroshige painting Sudden shower over Shin-Ôhashi bridge, featured on the front cover of this disc.

Richard Watkins, soloist in Amores, is at the forefront of promoting contemporary music for the horn. He has given premières of concertos by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Nigel Osborne, Magnus Lindberg, Dominic Muldowney, Nicola LeFanu, and  Colin and David Matthews.





'An intriguing mix of four works from the middle generation of British composers' BBC Music Magazine


The works on this disc were recorded at St. George's Concert Hall, Bristol on 6 February 2004.

Producer/ Recording Engineer    DAVID LEFEBER
Editing/ Mastering by       DAVID LEFEBER
Executive Producer          COLIN MATTHEWS

Cover image: Hiroshige: Sudden shower over Shin-Ohashi bridge and Atake, 1857
Graphic design             FRANCOIS HALL


(P) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd
(C) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd


Edition Peters
University of York Music Press
Catalogue number:
NMC D174
Release Date:
19 September 2011