Bio

Originally from Wear Valley in County Durham, UK creative Catherine Holbrook is currently based in the small brewery town of Tadcaster, nestled between the historic City of York with all it’s traditional culture and beautiful architecture and the vibrantly creative City of Leeds, in the beautiful county of North Yorkshire.

Catherine Head ShotCatherine is a community musician & mixed-media artist.

She teaches piano privately, leads instrumental masterclasses, runs chamber music courses and delivers creative community and education projects both in person and online.

Catherine’s work as Artistic Director of York’s popular open-access community orchestra the All Seasons Orchestra has gained her an international reputation both for the quality of her musicianship and for her dedication to building thriving creative communities.

Skilfully combining her skills as a pianist, composer, conductor and artist, Catherine works in a refreshingly unique way and has a gift for sharing her skills and inspiring others to explore their creativity.


– A Creative & Diverse Career –

– Musical Training –

– Performing –

– Education & Community Work –

– Collaborations & Organisations –


A CREATIVE & DIVERSE CAREER

Despite being told numerous times throughout her career that she needed to focus in one area and specialise Catherine has forged her own path which celebrates the diversity of her interests and creative skills creating fresh and inspiring works which are just “so Catherine”.   This makes her portfolio interestingly eclectic, bursting with new angles, fresh perspectives unusual creative combinations and exciting collaborations.

I thrive on diversity and have always found that every different artform and experience influences and informs another aspect of my life and work; each enriching the other.  It means that my perspective on things is always evolving, and new possibilities are constantly presenting themselves.  It’s exciting and keeps my work fresh and interesting.

Catherine’s irrepressible creativity and heart for people has lead to some profoundly moving individual and group work.


MUSICAL TRAINING

Catherine is privileged to have studied bassoon with Northern Sinfonia’s Stephen Reay & Manchester Camerata’s Laurence Perkins and to study piano with Stuart Insley and Stephanie Cant – being able to trace her piano teaching heritage back to Clara Schumann.

Catherine’s formal education in the arts has been very much focussed on music.  In 2000 she was awarded the Sir Thomas Beecham Scholarship for performance and went to study Music at University of York.  There Catherine earned her BA(hons) focussing on interpretation, performance, contemporary music and composition.  She then went on to gain an MA in Community Music, also from York, for which she was awarded a distinction.

In 2008 Catherine was delighted to be awarded an MBF bursary to attend Dartington International Summer School where she was able to play alongside some of Britain’s finest musicians and further develop her musicianship skills.


PERFORMING

Catherine has performed in a multitude of venues across the North of England including Darlington Arts Centre, York Minster, the Sage Gateshead, the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall in York and St. Paul’s Hall in Huddersfield.  She is also privileged to have taken the stage with some of Britain’s finest musicians in Dartington’s prestigious Concert Series.

Some of the highlights of Catherine’s performing career include playing principal bassoon in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring; orchestral conducting in Durham Cathedral; performing frivolously indulgent piano duets in Castle Howard alongside Two for Tea duetting partner Laura Frances Jones; and playing barefoot premieres of her own compositions for solo piano in Selby Abbey.

Since the birth of her daughter Catherine has found herself returning to her piano-loving roots and has begun composing, performing and recording her own music for solo piano.  Which are now available to listen to and purchase digitally from the link below or on CD by clicking the pictures.

LISTEN & BUY DIGITAL TRACKS


EDUCATION & COMMUNITY WORK

Catherine is known for her deeply intuitive approach to her teaching and community work which is well-grounded in research and over twenty years of practical experience.

In 2003 Catherine’s work as a founder member of the University of York’s Music Education Group, MEG! was formally recognised with a HEACF Student Volunteering Award. She then went on to study for a Masters degree in Community Music (York), from which she graduated with distinction, and now enjoys working as a freelance performer, conductor, instrumental tutor, creative practitioner and education & community advisor.

In the years following her graduation Catherine earned herself a reputation for her innovative education projects and inspiring community work.  She was privileged to work on a number of Creative Partnerships projects supporting teaching staff in developing creativity & engagement within the curriculum in their schools.

Catherine’s education and community work has found herself working in some rather unexpected places including castles, cathedrals, woods, prisons, barns, city-centres and libraries as well as the more usual schools, care homes, village halls & church settings.

Catherine spent over a decade working with amateur musicians across the North of England as a conductor and administrator for the Cobweb Orchestra.  During her time with the orchestra, they were presented with an ‘EPIC Award for innovation’ (January 2011) and in October of the same year Catherine attended Gramophone Magazine’s prestigious award ceremony to receive their ‘Music in the Community Award’ on behalf of the Orchestra.

In 2013 Catherine’s dedicated and inspiring work with orchestras and instrumentalists was recognised by the newly formed All Seasons Orchestra who invited her to be their Artistic Director, a role which continues to bring much joy both to her and to the musicians of all abilities that she works with.


COLLABORATIONS & ORGANISATIONS

A professional member of Incorporated Society of Musicians Catherine has worked on a huge number of collaborative projects and with a wide range of organisations including:

  • Making Music
  • The Sage, Gateshead
  • University of York
  • All Seasons Orchestra, York
  • Song Box
  • North Yorkshire Music Therapy Centre
  • Two for Tea – piano duo
  • City of York Council
  • Mid Pennine Arts
  • Selby Abbey
  • Women in Harmony
  • The European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA)
  • Creative Partnerships
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
  • The Cobweb Orchestra
  • HMP Everthorpe
  • Duo Sonita – international flute & piano duo
  • Wear Valley District Council

as well as whole host of schools, churches, village halls and community groups.

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