Richard Watkins & Julius Drake

Biography Richard Watkins & Julius Drake

Richard Watkins
has become one of the most sought-after horn players of his generation and 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 founding member of London Winds and the Transatlantic Horn Quartet.

Richard Watkins has appeared at many of the world's most prestigious venues in the UK, Europe and the USA, and has worked with conductors such as Giulini, Sawallisch, Salonen, Slatkin, Sinopoli, Rozhdestvensky, Andrew Davis and Mark Elder.

His extensive discography includes recordings of the Horn Concertos by Mozart (IMP), Malcolm Arnold (Conifer), Glière and Ethel Smyth (Chandos), as well as Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (DG) and Poulenc's Chamber Music for Horn (Hyperion). In recital, Richard regularly performs at the Wigmore Hall with singers such as John Mark Ainsley, Ian Bostridge and Mark Padmore, and with pianists Barry Douglas, Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles and Ian Brown.

Richard Watkins is closely associated with promoting contemporary music for the horn. He has given premieres of concertos by Maxwell Davies, Osborne, Lindberg, Muldowney, Lefanu, and Colin and David Matthews. Recent premieres include Bleak Moments by Mark Anthony Turnage for horn and string quartet, Colin Matthews’s Time stands still for horn violin and piano, a performance of Colin Matthews’ Horn Concerto at the 2006 BBC Proms, and a horn quintet by James MacMillan which was premiered at the 2007 Cheltenham International Festival.

Julius Drake
The “collaborative pianist nonpareil” (The New Yorker) Julius Drake lives in London and enjoys an international reputation as one of the finest instrumentalists in his field, collaborating with many of the world’s leading artists, both in recital and on disc.

He appears regularly at all the major music centres and festivals: the Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Munich, Schubertiade, and Salzburg Music Festivals; Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre New York; The Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and Philarmonie, Berlin; the Châtalet and Musée de Louvre Paris; La Scala, Milan and Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid; Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Vienna; and Wigmore Hall and BBC Proms London.

Director of the Perth International Chamber Music Festival in Australia from 2000 - 2003, Julius Drake was also Artistic Director of the Leeds Lieder Festival in 2009, and musical director of Deborah Warner’s staging of Janáček’s Diary of One Who Vanished, touring to Munich, London, Dublin, Amsterdam and New York. Since 2009 he has been Artistic Director of the Machynlleth Festival in Wales.

Julius Drake’s passionate interest in song has led to invitations to devise song series for Wigmore Hall, London, the BBC and The Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. His annual series of song recitals – Julius Drake and Friends – in the historic Middle Temple Hall in London, has featured recitals with many outstanding vocal artists including Sir Thomas Allen, Olaf Bär, Iestyn Davies, Veronique Gens, Sergei Leiferkus, Dame Felicity Lott, Simon Keenlyside and Sir Willard White.

Julius Drake is frequently invited to perform at international chamber music festivals – most recently, Lockenhaus in Austria; Delft in the Netherlands; Oxford in England; Boswil in Switzerland and West Cork in Ireland – while his instrumental duo with Nicholas Daniel has been described in The Independent newspaper as ‘one of the most satisfying in British chamber music: vital, thoughtful and confirmed in musical integrity of the highest order’.

Julius Drake’s many recordings include a widely acclaimed series with Gerald Finley for Hyperion, from which the Barber Songs, Schumann Heine Lieder and Britten Songs and Proverbs won the 2007, 2009 and 2011 Gramophone Awards; award winning recordings with Ian Bostridge for EMI; several recitals for the Wigmore Live label, with among others Alice Coote, Joyce DiDonato, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Christopher Maltman and Matthew Polenzani; recordings of Kodály and Schoeck sonatas with the cellists Natalie Clein and Christian Poltera for the Hyperion and Bis labels; Tchaikovsky and Mahler with Christianne Stotijn for Onyx; English song with Bejun Mehta for Harmonia Mundi; and Schubert’s ‘Poetisches Tagebuch’ with Christoph Prégardien, which won the Jahrpreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2016.

Julius Drake is now embarked on a major project to record the complete songs of Franz Liszt for Hyperion - the second disc in the series, with Angelika Kirchschlager, won the BBC Music Magazine Award 2012 – and a series of four Schubert recitals recorded live at Wigmore Hall with Ian Bostridge.

Julius Drake holds a Professorship at Graz University for Music and the Performing Arts in Austria, where he has a class for song pianists. He is regularly invited to give master classes worldwide; recently in Aldeburgh, Brussels, Utrecht, Cincinnati, New York, Toronto, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Vienna, and at the Schubert Institute in Baden bei Wien.

Concerts in the 2018-19 season include recitals in his series, ‘Julius Drake and Friends’ at Middle Temple Hall in London with Gerald Finley, Roderick Williams, Nicky Spence and Sarah Connolly; concerts in Cologne, Brussels, Manchester, and at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg with Ian Bostridge; in Amsterdam, London, Philadelphia, and Madrid with Sarah Connolly; in Vienna, Zurich, and Leeds with Angelika Kirchschlager; and in Vienna, Hamburg, and London with Gerald Finley. Julius Drake will also perform in Bilbao and Vilabertran with Christoph Pregardien; at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam with Barbara Kozelij, Simon Keenlyside, Rosanne van Sandwijk, and André Morsch; in Edinburgh with Benjamin Appl and Mary Bevan; in Vienna with Dorottya Lang; in Copenhagen with Alice Coote; at Wigmore Hall, London with Katerina Karneus; in Madrid with Fleur Barron and at Carnegie Hall, New York with Matthew Polenzani. Further engagements include a tour of the USA with Holger Falk, a tour of South Korea with Ian Bostridge, a tour of Ireland with Natalie Clein and Claire Booth, and a recording of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Bavarian Radio Choir in Munich.

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