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 numerous 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, 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 Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Resonanz, Ensemble Ascolta, Ensemble United Berlin, the Krasnoyarsk Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra of the Sunflower Festival in the United States and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Senior Orchestra.
Placing great emphasis on working with younger musicians, Larsen-Maguire is very much in demand as a conductor for youth orchestras and in music colleges 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 led the conducting team at the annual Femusc Festival in Brazil for five years and held a guest professorship in conducting at the University of the Arts, Berlin. She gives regular masterclasses in Germany and abroad, and was a jury member for the prestigious Besançon Competition for Young Conductors 2017, returning in the same capacity in 2019.
Recent highlights include concerts with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, the orchestra of the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, the Taoxichuan Chamber Orchestra in China, and in the Gewandhaus Hall in Leipzig with the Amicus Orchestra Glasgow, of which she is principal conductor.
Future projects include a film music recording in Berlin, concerts and recordings with the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, projects with Ensemble United Berlin, and concerts in Mexico, China, at the Ruhrtriennale Festival in Germany, and in Brazil, Spain, Iran and the USA.
Catherine Larsen-Maguire read music at Cambridge University, and studied the bassoon at the Royal Academy of Music in London, with Klaus Thunemann in Hanover, and at the 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 regularly with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Bernhard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle and Kirill Petrenko.