Irish Chamber Orchestra 

Changing lives through Music

Newsletter Signup


Katherine HunkaICO WHITE HEADSHOTS350_pp


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. This summer in Kilkenny, she will be co-directing 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 Buenes 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 sees her at the Sligo International Chamber Music Festival, the Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and performing much of Brahms’ chamber music in 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. In 2017, Katherine toured with other leaders of Irish Orchestras; Mia Cooper, Helena Wood and Ioana Petcu. The success of this tour has resulted in another run of concerts later this year, this time in Northern Ireland.

Katherine has been a guest leader with the Manchester Camerata, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as well as 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.

Copyright © 2011 Irish Chamber Orchestra. All Rights Reserved.
Charity Number 8789

  • Arts Council logo
  • Culture Fox logo