Catherine Larsen-Maguire was born in Manchester and is now based in Berlin. After ten years as principal bassoonist at the Komische Oper Berlin, where she also directed concerts and operatic performances, she began to concentrate exclusively on conducting in 2012.
Catherine Larsen-Maguire’s repertoire ranges from the baroque to the 21st century; she has a special interest in contemporary music and has directed the first performances of several works. She made her operatic debut at the Komische Oper in 2009, conducting the German premiere of Elisabeth Naske’s „Die Rote Zora“. The production was revived in 2011 and is available on DVD.
Catherine Larsen-Maguire has shared the concert platform with internationally acclaimed singers and soloists including Stella Doufexis, Martin Helmchen, Gino Quilico, Alex Klein, James Thatcher, Thomas Bowes, Ricardo Castro and many others. She has conducted the Bremen, Magdeburg, Augsburg and Nuremburg Philharmonics, the orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Resonanz, Ensemble Ascolta, Ensemble United Berlin, the Krasnoyarsk Chamber Orchestra, the Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra of the Sunflower Festival in the United States, the Youth Orchestra of Bahia, the South African National Youth Wind Orchestra and the Sinfonietta 92 and ensembleKOM in Berlin.
Larsen-Maguire places great emphasis on working with younger musicians, and is very much in demand as a conductor and coach for youth orchestras all round the world. As part of the Young Euro Classic Festival she made her debut in Berlin’s Konzerthaus, returning a year later to conduct a world premiere with the German Youth Ballet; this was followed by a tour of China with the same group. She travels regularly to Brazil, Mexico, Asia and throughout Europe working with national youth orchestras and summer festival academies, and leads the conducting team at the annual Femusc Festival in Brazil. She held a guest professorship in conducting at the University of the Arts, Berlin, from 2014 – 16.
Highlights of the 2016/2017 season included debuts with the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, OFUNAM in Mexico City, the Yun Ensemble in South Korea and at the Buzzards Bay festival in Massachussetts, as well as a re-invitation to the Sunflower Music Festival in Kansas. She is a member of the jury for the prestigious Besançon Competition for Young Conductors 2017. Future projects include several concerts with the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, courses with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, a festival of contemporary Iranian music with Ensemble United Berlin, and teaching and conducting concerts and the opera production (“La Bohème”) at the Femusc Festival in Brazil.
Catherine Larsen-Maguire read music at Cambridge University, where she also conducted the university orchestra. A year at the Royal Academy of Music, London, studying bassoon and conducting, was followed by further study in Hanover with Klaus Thunemann, and at the Berlin Philharmonic’s Karajan Academy in Berlin. She won the top prize in the 1996 Prague Spring Bassoon Competition and has played as guest Principal Bassoon in the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestras, working with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Bernhard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle and Kirill Petrenko.