The Bob Christensen Chair in Violin, Sponsored by Richard and
Recognized 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.
Following her undergraduate studies in the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship, Catherine completed her studies in Amsterdam 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. 'The music just flowed from their fingers like a force of nature, as if it couldn’t have been shaped or projected in any superior way.' Irish Times, July 2012. The duo's recording of Beethoven Sonatas on the RTÉ lyric fm label has garnered critical acclaim and they are currently preparing for a series of all ten sonatas by the composer at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Future engagements include concerts in Paris, a tour of Ireland, including a recital and masterclass in the CIT Cork School of Music where Catherine began her studies, and a concert as part of the Wigmore Hall's concert season in 2014.
As violinist for the California-based chamber ensemble, Camerata Pacifica, she works regularly with distinguished musicians Warren Jones, Richard O’Neill, Ani Aznavoorian and Nicholas Daniel in an eclectic 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 'Messenger' Concerto for her in 2001, which she premièred at the National Concert Hall with the RTÉ NSO. In April 2008 she and Camerata Pacifica 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...”
Future solo engagements include performances with the Nash Ensemble at Wigmore Hall and a concert with Nicholas Daniel and friends at Kings Place, London.
Catherine plays on a Francesco Ruggeri violin, made in 1672 in Cremona, and purchased for her use by a Cork-based syndicate.
Catherine Leonard acknowledges the support of The Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, The Arts Council and Music Network through the Music Capital Scheme 2010.