In 2013 - after nearly 35 years of performing them in public -        
I recorded Bach's
 6 Cello Suites
 for Resonus Classics.

"a triumph" Gramophone

"hushed and flawless Bach"
The Observer

"heart-stopping Bach"
The Herald


My 2013 Bach Diary

From first hearing the Toccata and Fugue in d minor as a child, to taking part in the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000 and sitting on the Jury at the Leipzig Bach Competition in 2012, Bach has always had a special place in my life. But 2013 is turning out to be a ‘Bach year’ for me. A few weeks ago I took part in Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s TV programme (which will be broadcast at Easter by the BBC). I recorded the G major Prelude and gave some interviews, but more importantly it was a great chance to catch up with some of the other participants from the incredible Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000. Also in Cantata 68, there was a chance to try out the Royal Academy of Music’s beautiful 5 string Amati cello which belonged to one of my teachers, Amarylis Fleming. It’s an astonishing instrument, and I’m very excited to be using it for the 6th Suite later this year.

Earlier this year I conducted the 3rd and 4th Orchestral Suites at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, with their Baroque Orchestra – every one of them ready to risk everything for the music! Then it was Webern’s arrangement of the Ricercar in 6 parts from the Musical Offering with SCO and Robin Ticciati. In the Summer there is a late night Prom with EBS/Gardiner, and in the run up to Christmas I’m performing the 6th Suite at Queen’s Hall and then conducting Cantata 110 Unser Mund sei Voll Lachens in a concert with Manchester Consort.

But my main focus in 2013 will be a recording for Resonus Classics of all 6 Suites, which will happen in two chunks, Spring and Winter. In preparation, I will be putting on as many performances of the Suites as possible, as well as introducing and exploring them at various events. 
Having performed the Suites at very special places in Bach's life - sitting by the font in which he was baptised in Eisenach and at Frederick the Great's Palace in Potsdam - it was a pleasure to play the First Suite recently at Leighton House in London. Alfredo Piatti was a regular performer at 'Musics' there, including perhaps some of the first performances of the Suites after Bach's lifetime.

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e v e n t s :

Saturday 23rd March 2013 7.30 pm
box office 0845 874 3001
Bach Suites 2,3 and 4
(see below)


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Loch Shiel Festival
May 5th 2013 11.30 am

Leighton House, London
June 11th 2013


Bressanone, Italy
12th July 2013
5th Suite 

Music at Paxton

July 24th 2013
Suites 1,3 and 5


Academy of Music

25th August 2013
5th Suite

Edinburgh University St Ceclia's Hall
October 11th 2013 Lunchtime
Suites 1 and 4
Collaboration with composer Yati Durant
based around Bach Cello Suites 

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Queen's Hall Edinburgh
SCO Chamber Concert
October 27th 2013
Suite no 1 in G
SCO 27th October

Queen's Hall Edinburgh
SCO Chamber Concert
December 8th 2013
Suite no 6 in D

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Summerhall, Edinburgh
Another "Introduces and Explores"


Saturday 23rd March 2013 7.30 pm
box office 0845 874 3001

Cello Suites

no 2 in d minor
no 3 in C major
no 4 in E flat

David Watkin
"hushed and flawless Bach" The Observer
"absolutely electrifying" The Times
“heart-stopping Bach” The Herald

David Watkin introduces, explores and performs three of
Bach's iconic Suites for Solo Cello. He demonstrates how Bach uses the cello to create the illusion of multiple forces, often using the same musical archetypes present in his greatest large-scale works. Narrative, rhetoric and dance elements combine to produce some of the most profoundly spiritual music written for the cello. Yet the loss of Bach's autograph manuscript requires detective work, piecing together evidence from contemporary sources and study of Bach's handwriting.
David Watkin, who has been Principal in some of the world's leading ensembles, shares the on-going process of discovery to find out how the pieces work and what they mean, and his 35 year journey performing them, in venues from Frederick the Great's palace at Potsdam to Bach's birthplace, Eisenach.

The fabulous main hall at Summerhall, formerly Edinburgh's Veterinary School, is what accousticians call a perfect "shoe-box" shape. Only recently converted into a centre for the Arts, it is waiting to be discovered by many Classical music lovers. Yet, it's size and proportions are ideal for listening in to the intimate voice of the solo cello. 

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