Born in 1995, London based French Horn player Alexei Watkins graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Music Degree in July 2017 and a Master of Arts Degree with Distinction in September 2018. He was awarded the Dennis Brain Prize, the D Day Fund Award and the Gill Culpin Award whilst at the Academy.
He is a keen orchestral player and has played with Glyndebourne Touring Orchestra (Guest Principal), the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English National Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Cymru and was Principal Horn of the Britten Pears Orchestra (from 2015-2017). As a soloist, Alexei has given many recitals across the country, most recently at the Buxton Festival, High Wycombe, Southwark Cathedral, the Foundling Museum and Charlton House, Greenwich. He has performed the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings both in the UK and abroad and Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto at Hampton School, where he held a Music Scholarship. Future solo engagements include recitals at venues such as Hampton Court Palace and St John’s Smith Square and Mozart’s Third Horn Concerto in Guildford.
Alexei has a strong interest in chamber music; he has played with the Nash Ensemble, London Winds and is a founding member of the Grove Ensemble, a Wind Quintet formed at the Academy in 2014. In April 2015 Alexei recorded Mozart’s Gran Partita with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble and Strauss’ Wind Serenades with Aldeburgh Winds, both for Linn Records. At the Academy, Alexei won the Worshipful Company of Musicians Brass Ensemble Prize with his Brass Quintet in June 2015 and is now a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Alexei is very keen on promoting contemporary music for the Horn, most notably, premièring Alex Woolf’s ‘Serenade’ for Tenor, Horn and Strings, commissioned by Aldeburgh Music as part of the Britten Centenary celebrations in November 2013 at Snape Maltings. Continuing this collaboration, he has commissioned and premièred several works by Woolf such as ‘Aria’ for Horn and Piano and the trio ‘Watch This Space’ for Oboe, Horn and Piano. In Summer 2015, Alexei was the horn player in the Britten Pears Contemporary Music course under the direction of Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews.
Alexei is very grateful for generous financial support for his recent Postgraduate studies from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and Revd John Wates.
Musicians’ Company Award: RAM Brass Ensemble 2015
Page Updated: March 2019