At her state primary school in north London, Catherine Arlidge was given the opportunity to learn an instrument along with every other child. At the age of five the pupils were tested on whether or not they could distinguish between the high and low notes; those who got the most correct would be given violin lessons. ‘Not a very sound way of measuring our latent talent or choosing an instrument, possibly’, says Catherine ‘however it did mean that I started learning the violin aged five at school’.
At secondary school Catherine studied with Sidney Griller who was a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. She then studied Music at Manchester University before going, as a Fulbright Scholar, to the Eastman School of Music in New York to study with Zvi Zeitlin. Upon returning to the UK, Catherine completed her studies with Felix Andrievsky at the Royal College of Music.
Catherine joined the CBSO a year after leaving college and after a brief stint at Scottish Opera. Her highlights with the orchestra include Mahler, Janacek and Stravinsky with Rattle, Sibelius with Sakari Oramo, Wagner, Strauss and Rachmaninov with Andris Nelsons, Beethoven Piano Concertos with Alfred Brendel, Bach with Emmanuelle Haim and Handel with Andreas Scholl.
As well as playing with the orchestra Catherine programmes and presents many of the CBSO’s Schools and Family concerts and created Notelets, the early years programme. She also enjoys working off the concert platform to try to connect new audiences to the world of classical music. Additionally Catherine is part of string quartet The Stringcredibles and they perform, teach, coach and lead creative workshops. A board member of the Associationof British Orchestras, Catherine is also married with three children.
In 2013 Catherine received the Royal Philharmonic Society and Association of British Orchestras Salomon Prize which celebrates the outstanding contribution made by orchestral musicians to musical life in the UK. On 30 December 2015 she was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours for her work inspiring and engaging young people in a love of live classical music.