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Biography
Catherine Leonard, violin Recognised as a deeply personal performer with a wide-ranging repertoire, Catherine Leonard has secured her place as one of the finest violinists of her generation, performing regularly in Ireland’s most prominent festivals and recital series and also on the international stage. After starting her musical journey at the Cork School of Music, she completed her undergraduate studies in the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship. Catherine studied further at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and obtained her Masters with Honours at the Amsterdam Conservatoire with the renowned pedagogue and performer Herman Krebbers. She subsequently won prizes at numerous international competitions including the Kulenkampff in Cologne. In 1995 she made her recital debut in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and a varied and exciting career was launched. In recent seasons she has collaborated at home and abroad with Irish pianist Hugh Tinney. Engagements together in the past year included a very successful concert in Paris, where they played a programme of French and Irish repertoire, and annual tours of Ireland, including a recital and masterclass in the CIT Cork School of Music in 2012 and more recently there, a performance of the Chausson Concerto with the Vanbrugh Quartet. The duo's recording of Beethoven Sonatas on the RTÉ lyric FM label has garnered critical acclaim and they enjoyed great success in a NCH series of all the sonatas this past Spring. They are invited to give their first duo recital at the Wigmore Hall in London in the Summer '14 season and will be joined by cellist Guy Johnston for a tour of Ireland this Autumn. Catherine held the Bob Christensen Chair in Violin for the California-based chamber ensemble, Camerata Pacifica, for nine years. During that time, she played frequently with her distinguished colleagues Warren Jones, Richard O’Neill, Ani Aznavoorian and Nicholas Daniel in an eclectic range of repertoire spanning the body of chamber music. An advocate of contemporary Irish composers, Catherine is a particular champion of the music of Ian Wilson. He wrote his searingly beautiful 'Messenger' Concerto for her which she premièred at the National Concert Hall with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. In April 2008 she presented a newly-commissioned chamber version of this work in venues in America, Ireland and the UK, including the Library of Congress, The Morgan Library in New York and London’s Wigmore Hall. She has also recorded a CD of Wilson's music with regular piano collaborator Hugh Tinney which Gramophone Magazine described as “exemplary performances… well worth hunting down...” Catherine plays occasionally with the highly-respected Nash Ensemble in the UK and has just returned from another Wigmore Hall concert with them. She recently joined Queen's Medal Prize Winner Nicholas Daniel in a two day chamber music extravaganza at King's Place in London. Upcoming appearances include the Leicester International Chamber Music Festival and Guy Johnston's new series in Hatfield House. Hugh Tinney and Catherine have started their own chamber music festival in beautiful Westport House, County Mayo and look forward to the next one in September 2016. They will be joined this year by a starry lineup including French cellist Marc Coppey and Spanish clarinettist Jose Franch-Ballester. She is delighted to play on a 1672 Francesco Ruggeri violin, which was purchased for her use by a Cork-based syndicate. Catherine Leonard is sponsored annually by MMI (Money Markets International) in Dublin and also acknowledges the support of The Arts Council and Music Network through the Music Capital Scheme 2010.
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