Catherine Bower

Sub-Principal Viola

Sussex-born Catherine (Cathy) started out on the violin but very soon changed to the viola. Of the switch, Cathy says ‘I always preferred playing the middle line, it’s more interesting than the tune!’

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. Cathy 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.

Cathy first joined the CBSO in 1989, leaving in 1992 to care for her young family. She continued to play as an associate until she rejoined in 2011. She feels lucky to have worked with such fantastic music directors, and cites her highlights with the orchestra as ‘the 1997 tour to South America, Mahler 8 with Simon Rattle in the Mahler year, Sibelius 5 with Sakari, most Andris concerts but particularly Mahler 2 and the Beethoven cycle’.

Outside of the CBSO Cathy enjoys chamber music, studying foreign languages and visiting other countries, particularly Spain and Argentina, and also Germany, where her sons are now living.