Irish Chamber Orchestra 

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Director

Katherine HunkaICO WHITE HEADSHOTS350_pp

Leader

Born in London, Katherine Hunka began playing the violin at the age of four.  Whilst growing up under the guidance of teacher Sheila Nelson, she performed chamber music at London’s South Bank and the Royal Albert hall, was soloist with the City of London Sinfonia and led the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
 
Katherine was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she spent five years studying with Gyorgy Pauk, and then furthered her studies in the USA at Indiana University where she also acted as teaching assistant to her professor, Mauricio Fuks.  This instilled in her a great love of teaching.  She has since returned to Indiana as a guest Professor and been made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
 
Katherine is Leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 2002 and regularly directs from the leader’s chair.  As director and soloist, with the ICO, she has toured Germany, China and Singapore, appeared at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, and more recently, at the Kilkenny Arts Festival where she co-directed late Beethoven quartets, arranged for string orchestra, with ICO principal cellist, Christian Elliott.
 
Katherine directs ICO national tours, which take the orchestra all over Ireland.  Last year, Katherine released her first solo CD recording with the ICO of Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.  As part of her role with the ICO, Katherine collaborates with contemporary composers.  She has directed premieres with Irish composers including Sam Perkin, Ian Wilson, Raymond Dean, Elaine Agnew, Linda Buckley, and John Kinsella.  As leader, she has also enjoyed performing solo concertos and chamber music with Jörg Widmann, Pekka Kuusisto, Anthony Marwood and Nigel Kennedy amongst others.
 
Katherine performs regularly, as a chamber musician and soloist, at festivals throughout Ireland and the UK.  At the Aldeburgh Festival she premiered Benjamin Britten’s rediscovered Double Concerto.  This year Katherine appeared at the Sligo International Chamber Music Festival, the Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and performed much of Brahms’ chamber music at the Kilkenny Arts Festival.  She is a regular guest to concert venues across Ireland.  Last Autumn, she toured Ireland with pianist Finghin Collins playing duo recitals.  Her trio, Far Flung with accordionist Dermot Dunne and bassist Malachy Robinson delights audiences with its light-hearted approach, their repertoire spans from Bach to Klezmer with anything in between.  Katherine has just completed a tour of Northern Ireland with violinists Mia Cooper, Helena Wood and Ioana Petcufollowing their very successful southern tour last year. 
 
Katherine has been a guest leader with the Manchester Camerata, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and will perform in that role with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra next year.  She has also been guest soloist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra.
 
She is currently a Professor at the CIT Cork School of Music and the Irish World Academy of Music.  She plays a Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin and her bows are by Irish maker Gary Leahy.
 
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