Irish Chamber Orchestra 

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Katherine HunkaICO WHITE HEADSHOTS350_pp


London born, Katherine studied with musician, educator and composer, Sheila Nelson and continued at the Royal Academy of Music with Gyorgy Pauk.   She pursued her studies at Indiana University with Mauricio Fuks and became his teaching assistant. On her return to England, Katherine was invited to become a member of The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, touring extensively with them.

In 2002 Katherine was appointed Leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and regularly directs concerts from the violin as well as performing as soloist across a wide range of repertoire.  She has directed tours to every corner of the country and internationally.  Together with the ICO, she has championed the music of Irish composers and over the years has premiered many new works by contemporary composers such as Raymond Deane, John Kinsella and Sam Perkin.  Katherine collaborated with ICO guest artists, performing concertos with Pekka Kuusisto, Nigel Kennedy and Martin Hayes, among others.

Katherine enjoys performing a great range of styles, from Bach to Tango. Her Far Flung Trio, which includes accordionist Dermot Dunne and bassist Malachy Robinson, has a busy touring schedule.  This Autumn they will be playing in venues across Ireland including The Westport Chamber Music Festival.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Katherine has been a regular visitor to the Aldeburgh Festival, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the festival of Great Music in Irish Houses and the Killable Chamber Music Festival.  At Aldeburgh, she premiered Benjamin Britten’s re-discovered concerto for violin and viola with violist Philip Dukes.  Plans for the coming season include recitals with pianist Finghin Collins, and directing a CD with the ICO and singer Ailish Tynan.  She has recently recorded Piazzolla’s Four Seasons with the ICO which will be released next year.

Katherine has been a guest leader with the Manchester Camerata, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra of Ireland and has performed solo concertos with the City of London Sinfonia, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

She is currently the Artistic Director of the MA in Classical Strings programme at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick which is operated jointly by Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Academy.  Katherine is a Professor at the CIT Cork School of Music and has been a visiting Professor at Indiana University USA.

She plays a Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin (1874) and her bows are by the Irish maker Gary Leahy.

“The performance of Mendelssohn’s youthful Octet, led by Katherine Hunka, buzzed with energy.  The audience loved it”. Michael Dervan, Irish Times

Under the guidance of leader-director Katherine Hunka, the ICO’s execution is a model of elegance, imagination and good taste”. Andrew Johnstone, Irish Times


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