David Wilkins was born in Coventry on 27 July in the year of the Suez crisis and the Hungarian uprising. He studied English and Linguistics at the universities of Lancaster and Exeter but, in his own words, 'spent a lot of his time learning how to conduct and how not to compose'. He was the author of a young-person's biography of Leonard Bernstein and had a particular interest in American music and an obsession with Astor Piazzolla. Bach, Schubert and Mahler were his listening-passions and the whole business of conductors and interpretation his prevailing search.
He wrote extensively for BBC Music Magazine and contributed to many publications including the Independent newspaper. He wrote concert programme notes for a variety of orchestras and gave pre-concert talks for the CBSO at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. His professional life found him living and teaching in Italy, Spain and Portugal for many years.
Based in Eastbourne, David Wilkins directed language courses and encouraged the internationalisation of musical exploration amongst young people.
Sadly, David Wilkins died suddenly, at Eastbourne College, on 13 July 2010, aged 53.
Mahler's Ninth Symphony. '... played with love and knowledge and commitment ...'
David Wilkins attends a concert at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire
Bernstein's 'Candide' at English National Opera
David Wilkins experiences Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' in Budapest
Shostakovich's opera 'The Nose'
Astor Piazzolla in portrait. '... defying category but never defying mastery.'
Astor Piazzolla's 'Maria de Buenos Aires' in Copenhagen
Leonard Bernstein's 'On The Town' at the London Coliseum
Dawn Upshaw sings Messiaen, Debussy, Golijov and Fauré. '... a great disc!'
David Wilkins was one of two M&V writers at Tippett's 'A Child of Our Time', staged at the London Coliseum on Friday 21 January 2005
Zemlinksky and Schreker at the Vienna Volksoper
The Donatella Flick Conducting Competition 2004
David Wilkins visits the thirty second Istanbul Music Festival
Charles Ives died fifty years ago today, and a CD released to mark the occasion is appreciated. '... a recording destined for benchmark authority.'
David Wilkins was at the first fully-staged UK production of Piazzolla's 'Maria de Buenos Aires'
David Wilkins at the Hungarian première of Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw'
Samuel Barber's 'Vanessa'. 'Andrea Matthews is a very powerful Erika ...'
Giora Feidman plays music by Piazzolla and Ora Bat Chaim. '... consistently astonishing ...'
Daniil Shtoda sings Russian songs. '... wonderfully expressive ...'
Kathleen Ferrier sings 'Das Lied von der Erde' on Naxos Historical, and David Wilkins is impressed. '... mastery of word-painting ...'
David Wilkins listens to the London Philharmonic Youth Choir in Eastbourne
David Wilkins visits the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy
David Wilkins attends the première of Friedrich Cerha's 'Der Riese vom Steinfeld', and speaks to the principal singer, Thomas Hampson, about the opera
David Wilkins' reflections on the opening week of the 30th International Istanbul Music Festival
a personal tribute from David Wilkins
Plea for peace. David Wilkins reports from the Athens Megaron on the first performance of the new opera 'Lysistrata' by Mikis Theodorakis
Mr Valiant-for-Truth. 'It really is that good.' Enjoying Bruckner's Eighth under Günter Wand
Obvious dedication. '... one work - the Gunther Schuller Symphony - receives a truly first-class performance ...' American orchestral music
Monumental achievements. '... stunningly committed performances ...' Some thoughts on Bernstein's recordings of the Mahler symphonies
Perfect legato. '... as honest and durable a tribute to the unending delights of Bach's mastery as one could wish for.' Angela Hewitt plays Bach
Sonically brilliant. '... an entirely involving performance ...' A new recording of the Berlioz 'Te Deum'
Power and virtuosity. '... a powerful (in every sense) take on these endlessly rewarding works ...' Kovacevich plays Beethoven
David Wilkins listens to the Polish State Opera of Wroclaw
Creative beauty. '... clearly thought through and, as everything under Graham Johnson's direction, entirely convincing.' A visit to the Hyperion Schubert Edition
Lenny - 10 Years On
Burnished colours. '... these readings are heartfelt and do not disappoint.' Smetana's chamber music on the Supraphon label
Words and music - David Wilkins listens to Urszula Kryger singing Chopin
Melodious Charm - Dvorak String Quartets
Sparkling Momentum - David Wilkins listens to Tim Hugh's Boccherini
Music from the fourth dimension - David Wilkins listens to Goldmark chamber music, and Uplifts - For the jaded spirit with Basil Ramsey
David Wilkins reads Maria Callas - diaries of a friendship by Robert Sutherland
Maria Callas - David Wilkins listens to one of the legends of the 20th century
David Wilkins experiences Wroclaw State Opera's Traviata