He made his concerto début at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Philharmonic, and he has toured to China and the Far East with the BBC Scottish Symphony. Recent highlights include his début at Carnegie Hall and premiere of a new concerto written for him by Mark-Anthony Turnage with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, among others. A dedicated chamber musician, Watkins has been a member of the Nash Ensemble since 1997. He has given solo recitals at Amsterdam Concertgebouw and South Bank Centre, future highlights include performances at Wigmore Hall and Lincoln Center. Paul Watkins will join the Emerson String Quartet from 2013/14 season.
In 2009 Paul Watkins signed an exclusive contract with Chandos Records for a series of recital and concerto discs. Future releases include the Lutoslawski cello concerto.
He has conducted all the major British orchestras, and also became the first ever Music Director of the English Chamber Orchestra in the 2009/10 season. He also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2009 to 2012.