Catherine Larsen-Maguire was born in Manchester, England, 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. Her 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, Alexandre Dossin, Alex Klein, 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, the Krasnoyarsk Chamber Orchestra, the Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra of the Sunflower Festival in the United States, the Youth Orchestra of Bahia and the South African National Youth Wind Orchestra. She works regularly with new music ensembles such as Resonanz, Musikfabrik, Ascolta and United 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 and summer festivals all round the world, especially in South and Central America. She held a guest professorship in conducting at the University of the Arts, Berlin, from 2014 – 16, and is professor of conducting at the annual Femusc festival in Brazil. She will be a jury member for the 2017 Besancon conducting competition. In 2016/17 she will debut with the Deutsches Kammerorchester, Slovenian Radio Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, Amicus chamber orchestra, the OFUNAM in Mexico City, the Yun Ensemble in South Korea and at the Buzzards Bay (USA) festival, as well as returning to the Sunflower Music Festival in Kansas. 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 Karajan Academy in Berlin, which gave her the opportunity to play regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic. 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.