For cellist and conductor Paul Watkins 2009 has been a particularly successful year. First came his appointment as music director of the English Chamber Orchestra, a three-year engagement from the current 2009-10 season. Now comes the news that he will also take over as principal guest conductor of the Ulster Orchestra with immediate effect. This engagement, too, is for an initial period of three years.
“Paul Watkins is a great communicator who enjoys the respect of the orchestral players, thanks to his innate musicality and his attention to detail without losing any of the music’s spontaneity,” said Ulster chief executive David Byers.
The conductor built up a strong rapport with the orchestra in BBC concerts and in Ulster’s own series at the Belfast Waterfront Hall in November last year. He will next conduct the ensemble at Ulster Hall in a programme of Schumann and Brahms in March 2010.