Catherine Mackintosh studied violin with Orrea Pernel, Erich Gruenberg, Carl Pini and Silvia Rosenberg at the Royal College of Music in London. She also studied chamber music with Kenneth Skeaping and sang in Roger Norrington’s Schütz choir. She was then awarded a three-year scholarship (1967-1969) to attend the European Summer Seminars of Early Music in Bruges, where she performed on the vielle, rebec, and viol. She was one of the first of her generation to specialize in early string-playing techniques.
Following her studies, she was immediately in demand from such pioneering groups as Musica Reservata. In 1969, she helped found the Consort of Musicke (with whom she played medieval and renaissance instruments) and also joined the English Consort of Viols. In 1973, she became the first concertmistress of The Academy of Ancient Music. During her fifteen-year tenure with this orchestra, she made countless best-selling recordings for Decca under the direction of Christopher Hogwood, amongst which Handel’s ‘Messiah’, the first complete cycle of Mozart symphonies on original instruments, and Vivaldi’s ‘L’Estro Armonico‘ and ‘Four Seasons‘ were highlights (sharing the solo parts in these concertos with Alison Bury, John Holloway, and Monica Huggett). She also took part in Norrington’s celebrated EMI recordings with the London Classical Players.
In 1984, Mackintosh founded the Purcell Quartet with violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch (replaced by Catherine Weiss in 1991), viola da gamba player Richard Boothby and harpsichordist Robert Woolley. With the Purcell Quartet, she recorded, among other works, the trio sonatas by Purcell, Lawes, Biber, Corelli, Handel and Leclair, and vocal cantatas by J. S. Bach and Buxtehude. That same year, she became a founder member and co-concertmistress of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with which she made the first recording on period instruments of Vivaldi‘s concertos for viola d’amore. In 1989 she recorded J. S. Bach concertos for violin with The King’s Consort for Hyperion, and in 1997, the J. S. Bach violin and harpsichord sonatas with Maggie Cole. During the 1980s, Catherine was a member of Julian Bream Consort and formed Duo Amadè with the fortepianist Geoffrey Govier to perform Mozart and other classical duo sonatas. They recorded Mozart for Chandos.
Catherine has formed close links with Croatian, Czech and Hungarian ensembles, including The Croatian Baroque Ensemble, The Varazdin Chamber Orchestra and The Budapest Chamber Opera.
“I use different bows for different periods: holding the bow and seeing what it can do teaches you so much about style. Bowing is the soul of the music.”
For The Strad
Video: Catherine about her career and violin
Mackintosh took part in many ground-breaking projects played for the first time on original instruments
It is their belief that the performance of these works on period instruments gives them a freshness and vitality that might otherwise be lost
Duo Amadè was formed by the violinist Catherine Mackintosh and the fortepianist Geoffrey Govier in the 1980s to concentrate upon performing the sonatas of Mozart. They have recorded the sonatas for Chandos, and have performed them at the Haydn Festival in Plzen, Czech Republic, the Mozart Festival in Cluj, Romania, the Royal College of Music, and the National Trust’s Hatchlands Park.
Geoffrey Govier is one of the leading British exponents of the early piano.
Geoffrey Govier has played in many parts of the world, including Europe, New Zealand, the far and Middle East, and America both as a soloist and a chamber musician. He has been fortunate to play with many key figures in the period-instrument movement, including the singers Charles Daniels, Catherine Bott, Gerald Finley, the horn player Andrew Clark, and the chamber groups The Revolutionary Drawing Room and Ensemble Galant with whom he has made a number of recordings (BBC, Olympia, EMI and Hyperion). Having studied modern piano at the Royal College of Music in London, he studied fortepiano first privately with Melvyn Tan in London, with Stanley Hoogland in Amsterdam and then gained his doctorate from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York studying with Malcolm Bilson.