David Waterman was born into a musical family in Leeds. He studied Philosophy for six years at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a Research Scholarship and MA and PhD degrees, and was a tutor to final-year Philosophy undergraduates. At the same time he studied cello privately with Martin Lovett, William Pleeth and Jane Cowan.
In 1979 he was a founder-member of the Endellion Quartet, which has played all over the world, broadcast countless times on BBC Radio and TV, and recorded for EMI, Virgin Classics, ASV, and Pearl. The players recently recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven quartets for Warner Classics, followed by recordings of Schubert, Haydn and Britten. For 23 years, they have been Quartet in Residence at Cambridge University and in 1996 were awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Best Chamber Ensemble.
David Waterman has also performed chamber music with members of the former Amadeus Quartet, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Joshua Bell, the Chilingirian, Belcea and Elias quartets, Michael Collins, Imogen Cooper, Jeremy Denk, Isabelle Faust, Julia Fischer, Ivry Gitlis, Philippe Graffin, Lukacs Hagen, Steven Isserlis, Stephen Kovacevic, Mark Padmore, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Sandor Vegh, and Tabea Zimmerman, among others.
He has taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Menuhin Academy at Gstaad, and teaches cello and chamber music regularly for IMS at Prussia Cove. In July 2012, he gave a masterclass at Wigmore Hall as part of the celebrations of IMS’s 40th anniversary and he has also participated twice in the IMS Tour. From 1995 until 2003 he was co-director with Joyce Rathbone of the Rathbone–Dickson course at Westonbirt. He also coaches chamber music for ChamberStudio at Kings Place, London, and has taught chamber music for IMUSE in Enghien Belgium and for the Britten–Pears Foundation in Aldeburgh.
He was commissioned by Cambridge University Press to contribute a chapter to the Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet, which was published in 2003, and has also had articles published in The Guardian, Philosophy in Cambridge, Quodlibet, The Strad magazine, and other publications. In 2013 The Strad published a long article he wrote on musical education for string players. He has been invited to curate an important chamber music concert series for Leeds City Council.
He feels very fortunate to play on a wonderful cello by J.B. Guadagnini, which he jointly owns and shares with his friend, Steven Isserlis.