Paul Watkins is a Welsh conductor and cellist. He studied cello with William Pleeth, Melissa Phelps, and Johannes Goritzki, and from 1990 to 1997 he was the principal cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As a concerto soloist, Watkins has performed with Paavo Berglund, Leonard Slatkin, Sakari Oramo, Gianandrea Noseda, Mark Elder, Richard Hickox, Andris Nelsons, Andrew Davis, and Charles Mackerras. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Watkins was a member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 to 2013, before joining the Emerson Quartet. He has also collaborated with Menahem Pressler, Jaime Laredo, Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, and Vadim Repin. Pursuing conducting, Watkins was the winner of the 2002 Leeds Conductors' Competition, and he gave his first public performance as a conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006. He became the associate conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra in 2007, and in 2009 he was promoted to music director. He is also the principal guest conductor of the Ulster Orchestra. Watkins has recorded for Nimbus, EtCetera Records, NMC, and Chandos.