Catherine Bower

Sub-Principal Viola

Sussex-born Catherine started playing the violin at the age of nine, changing to the viola at 12. Of the switch, Catherine says ‘I always preferred playing the middle line, it’s more interesting than just playing the tune all the time!’

Study at the Royal Academy of Music from the age of 16 was followed by time at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad and the Hochschule fur Music in Cologne. Catherine came directly to the CBSO from her period of study in Cologne but had played in the Camerata Lysy whilst in Gstaad, performing in many concerts and tours with Sir Yehudi Menuhin. This is also where she met her husband who also happens to be a member of the CBSO – cellist Eduardo Vassallo.

Catherine first joined the CBSO in 1989, leaving in 1992 to care for her young family. She then played as an associate until she rejoined in 2011. She feels lucky to have worked with Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons and cites her highlights with the orchestra as ‘the 1997 tour to South America, Mahler 8 with Simon Rattle in the Mahler year, last year’s Benevolent Fund concert, Sibelius 5 with Sakari, most Andris concerts but particularly Mahler 2 and the Beethoven cycle that we recorded’.

Outside of the CBSO Catherine enjoys chamber music and visiting other countries, particularly Spain and Argentina.