Catherine Mackintosh to receive York Early Music Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

Catherine Mackintosh: Lifetime Achievement Award

AFTER a two-year wait, violinist Catherine Mackintosh will be presented with the York Early Music Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award on July 10.

The belated ceremony will take place during the 2022 York Early Music Festival, to be held from July 8 to 16.

Known to the profession as Cat, Mackintosh is a pioneering force in the British early music scene. After picking up a treble viol while studying at the Royal College of Music, London, she never looked back.

Consort-playing gave her the foundations of understanding the aesthetics and language of baroque music, soon to be translated to the violin. She led various orchestras, notably Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music, and later co-founded and led the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for two decades.

As a founder of the Purcell Quartet, Cat recorded and performed all the major works of the baroque trio-sonata repertoire – and much more – the world over. She was also Britain’s pioneer and champion of the viola d’amore.

Cat’s influence as a teacher and educator has been far-reaching, with many generations of violinists, violists and other instrumentalists passing through her hands at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire The Hague, as well as on numerous courses worldwide. 

Cat will be interviewed from the National Centre for Early Music, in Walmgate, by Hannah French on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show on July 10, broadcast live from the festival. Post-show, she will be presented with the award, in front of an audience, by Romanian-born Israeli violinist Kati Debretzeni, who studied Baroque violin with Cat at the Royal College of Music.

The York Early Music Lifetime Achievement Award honours major figures for making a significant difference to the world of early music. Previous winners were: Kuijken String Quartet in 2006; Dame Emma Kirkby, 2008; James Bowman, 2010; Jordi Savall, 2012; Andrew Parrott, 2014; Anthony Rooley, 2016, and Trevor Pinnock, 2018.

Commenting on the award, Cat says: “I ask myself…is it really an achievement to have enjoyed 50 years doing what I love with people I love and admire? Only in the sense of having survived this long! 

“Anyway, I am tremendously touched and honoured to receive this award and to join the list of the previous recipients – all friends and colleagues from whom I’ve learnt much and with whom I have happily travelled this musical road.”

NCEM director and festival artistic director Delma Tomlin enthuses: “I’m delighted that Catherine will finally be receiving this award after a rather long wait!  She has a long association with the NCEM and the festival.

“Her wonderful career, not just as a performer, but also as a mentor and teacher, has had an extraordinary impact on the world of early music. We can’t wait to welcome her to York and celebrate this amazing achievement with her this July.”

The full festival programme and ticket details can be found at’s-on/yemf/.