Catrin Finch

Catrin Finch

Inspired to learn the harp when she was five years old, Catrin Finch achieved the highest mark in the UK for her Grade VIII examination at the age of nine. She studied with Elinor Bennett for eight years before going on to the Purcell School and then the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Skaila Kanga and graduated in 2002 with the Queen’s Award for the most outstanding student of her year.

Catrin's first major competition success came in 1999 when she won the Lily Laskine International Harp Competition in France, one of the premier harp competitions in the world. After winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York, Catrin went on to play in over thirty states in the USA, including recitals and concerto debuts in New York, Boston and Washington D.C. In May 2004 she was nominated for a Classical Brit Award and has also received an “Echo Klassik” in Germany.

In 2000, Catrin was appointed Royal Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, a position which she held for four years reviving the ancient tradition of a post last held in 1873. During her period as Royal Harpist, Catrin played regularly at the royal palaces and performed to royalty from around the world.

She has performed extensively throughout the USA, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, and appeared with many of the world’s top orchestras including the Boston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at the Barbican’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the London Mozart Players, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, the Lake Charles Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony and the Manchester Camerata. Festival appearances include Salzburg, Edinburgh, Spoleto, Smithsonian Folklife, MDR Musiksommer Festival in Leipzig, Le Domaine Forget and Lanaudiere Festivals in Canada, and the Gödöllő Harp Festival in Hungary.

Catrin’s recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations was released by Deutsche Grammophon in January 2009 and entered the UK Classical charts at number 1. In November 2012, Deutsche Grammophon released Blessing, a CD of music by John Rutter featuring Catrin Finch and Sinfonia Cymru.

Other recent highlights include concerts in North Carolina, New York, Hong Kong and Australia, concertos with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, premieres of two new harp concertos written for her, a tour with Malian kora player, Toumani Diabaté and numerous recitals.

Catrin has appeared on all the major television and radio networks in the UK and many abroad. Among her earliest appearances on TV were two features on the BBC’s ‘Blue Peter’, and since then there have been many appearances on radio and television in the UK. In 2003, Catrin presented a TV documentary about herself entitled ‘Charlie’s Angel’ which was awarded a BAFTA Cymru/Wales award for the best music programme. She has recently been heard presenting concerts with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales live on BBC Radio 3 from the Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff Bay.

She has collaborated closely with composer Karl Jenkins on stage and disc, including the première of a new double harp concerto commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales. She has received half a million hits on You Tube for her performance of Karl Jenkins’ Palladio.

Catrin has recorded for most of the major international recording companies, including Universal Records, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI and Sony Classical, both solo and with notable artists such as Bryn Terfel, Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd-Webber.

Her versatility in different musical genres is demonstrated in her many recordings, which range from solo classical recitals and concertos, through to an eclectic cross-over mix and her own 14 piece band, CF47. The CD, Annwn, was released in March 2011 where Catrin presents some of Wales’ most popular traditional melodies in an innovative and refreshing way using electric harps, state-of-the-art technology and groundbreaking sound effects.

Catrin has received honours from the University of Wales Aberystwyth and Bangor, Glyndwr University, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music. She is a visiting professor at the latter two and is in great demand for masterclasses. In July 2012 the first ever Catrin Finch Academy Summer School was held on the outskirts of Cardiff.

Known for her work within the community and with the younger generation, Catrin is committed to promoting the harp - and classical music in general - to a new and wider audience.