Orchestra leader | Irish Chamber Orchestra
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Orchestra leader

A beguiling melt in the mouth sonority….a silver purity enhanced by a magical instinct for cantabile. 

BBC Music Magazine

Meet Katherine Hunka

Born in London, Katherine studied at the Royal Academy of Music and furthered her studies in the USA at Indiana University where she also acted as teaching assistant to her professor, Mauricio Fuks. She has since returned to Indiana as a guest Professor and been made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Katherine has been 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, and appeared at festivals including the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, and the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Katherine directs ICO national tours, which take the orchestra all over Ireland. She works closely with composers of contemporary music and in 2024 will be performing a piece written for the ICO and solo violin by David Fennessy. In 2020, Katherine released a solo CD recording with the ICO of Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and Schubert’s Rondo in A and received glowing reviews.

In 2020 Katherine co-founded the Solas string quartet, a group who enjoy devising accessible programmes that include many genres. They will be touring Ireland throughout 2024. Amongst their plans include a performance of Charlotte Bray’s “Ungrievable Lives” inspired by the Migrant Crisis at the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival.

Katherine has recently started composing and this season the Solas quartet will perform “Pass The Hat”, Katherine’s latest work, which explores power play within a group. Her composition was premiered at the Killaloe Festival in 2023.

Her group “The Far Flung Trio” with accordionist Dermot Dunne and bassist Malachy Robinson is celebrating its tenth year. The name reflects their sense of fun and eclectic mix in the programming. Their album can be found on all the usual platforms and they are making plans for a second album. 2024 will see them tour Ireland and the UK.

In 2020 Katherine became Artistic Director of the SCS Killaloe Music Festival for which she devises programmes to include world class musicians over a weekend in the beautiful towns of Killaloe/Ballina, also her home. She is also a regular guest at chamber music festivals in Ireland and the UK, most recently at the Whittington Festival. In 2024 she will be a soloist at festivals including the West Wicklow festival and the Dublin International Chamber Music Festival.

Katherine was a member of the Academy of St Martin in the fields for many years touring with the group across the globe. She has been a regular guest leader with orchestras including the Manchester Camerata, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and most recently the Northern Sinfonia. She has been guest soloist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra and gave the world premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Double Concerto at the Aldeburgh Festival in the UK.

Teaching is a big passion for Katherine and she has been involved in countless innovative student projects over the years. She is currently a Lecturer at the MTU Cork School of Music and Artistic Director of the ConCorda chamber music course.

Discover the music

Discover the music

Explore some of the Irish Chamber Orchestra's recordings with Katherine Hunka.

Katherine Hunka CD