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. During his time at the Academy, amongst other accolades, he was awarded the Dennis Brain Prize.
As a soloist, Alexei has performed recitals extensively across the country at venues including the Buxton International Festival, Blackheath Halls, Hampton Court Palace, Southwark Cathedral, the Foundling Museum and Charlton House, Greenwich. Recently he has performed the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings both in the UK and abroad as well as Mozart’s 3rd and 4th Horn Concertos. In 2019 Alexei won the University of London Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and will perform Strauss’ 1st Horn Concerto with the orchestra in 2020. Future solo engagements also include: Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto in Guildford, the Britten Serenade in Greenwich and recitals at St John’s Smith Square and the Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival.
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, Britten Sinfonia and was Principal Horn of the Britten Pears Orchestra (2015-2017).
Alexei has a strong interest in chamber music and has played with the Nash Ensemble and London Winds including performances at the Wigmore Hall and the Bath Mozartfest. He is also a founding member of the Grove Ensemble, a Wind Quintet formed at the Academy in 2014. Whilst at the Academy, Alexei won the Worshipful Company of Musicians Brass Ensemble Prize with his Brass Quintet and is now a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. In April 2015 he recorded Mozart’s Gran Partita with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble and Strauss’ Wind Serenades with Aldeburgh Winds, both for Linn Records.
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 Reverend John Wates.
Musicians’ Company Award: RAM Brass Ensemble 2015
Page Updated: Sept 2019