The Scottish violinist, Catherine Manson, had her formative musical education at the International Cello Centre in Scotland and at an early age she decided to make a speciality of chamber music. Aged 20 she took up a position as first violin of the Atlantic String Quartet in Canada and since then she has frequently been a guest of chamber groups including the Chilingirian and Endellion Quartets, the Florestan Trio and the Nash Ensemble.
Catherine Manson enjoys a versatile performing career specializing in period performance as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. For the past twenty years she has been invited to participate in the Open Chamber Music at the International Musicians’ Seminar, Prussia Cove. She has performed chamber music frequently with such artists as cellists Steven Isserlis and Anner Bylsma, harpsichordists Trevor Pinnock and Ton Koopman, pianists Leslie Howard (in London Beethoven Trio) and Malcolm Bilson, and counter-tenor Michael Chance,
A particular interest in Baroque and classical performance led Catherine Manson to found in 2000 the classical London Haydn Quartet, in which she is first violinist, and which has been invited to many of the most prestigious concert series and festivals in Europe and USA including the London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Washington's Library of Congress. The quartet’s series of recordings of the Haydn quartets on the Hyperion label has met with high critical acclaim internationally. In 2006 she was appointed as leader of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Since her appointment she has played in Carnegie Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall as well as concerts and recordings throughout Europe. She is frequently invited as a guest leader for “period instrument” projects with other ensembles including Smithsonian Chamber Players and Santa Fe Pro Musica in the USA, Ensemble Innovacion in Germany, Il Gardellino and Ensemble Explorations in Belgium.
Teaching has always been an important part of Catherine Manson's musical life; in 2001 she co-founded and now directs MusicWorks, a chamber music summer school for young musicians. In addition to giving classes and seminars at King’s College and the Royal Academy of Music, she has taught at the Baroque Performance Institute in Oberlin College, Ohio (USA), and at the Domaine Forget chamber music programme in Quebec (Canada), and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (UK) and given master-classes at Juilliard School and Yale University. Since 2010, she is on the faculty of the Granada International Festival’s ‘Musical Interpretation’ course for students interested in further study of period instrument playing.
Catherine Manson has recorded for Hyperion, Dorian, Glossa, ASV and Teldec, in addition to many radio recordings and broadcasts in the UK and abroad. Together with Ton Koopman she has recorded all Dietrich Buxtehude’s chamber music and their recording of the J.S. Bach's Violin & Harpsichord Sonatas (BWV 1014-1019) has recently been released.