Catherine Yates

Photo of Catherine Yates

Deputy Head of School of Strings


Email: [email protected]

Catherine Yates is Deputy Head of the School of Strings at the RNCM. She began her musical studies with Marion Hillier, before going on to study at Chetham’s School of Music and the RNCM. Here, her teachers included Malcolm Layfield and Lydia Mordkovich. Further training included courses at Yale University and the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh. In 1989 she became a member of the Sorrel Quartet which was formed at the RNCM under the tutelage of Dr Christopher Rowland and worked regularly with members of the Vermeer, Borodin, Alban Berg and Allegri Quartets.

The Quartet went on to become one of Britain’s foremost ensembles, performing extensively both at home and abroad and broadcasting regularly on BBC Radio, and a long association with Chandos Records saw the recording of twelve discs. These include the complete Quartets of Shostakovich, all the major quartet works of Britten and a critically acclaimed disc of the Elgar Quartet and Piano Quintet, with pianist Ian Brown.

Catherine’s career took a sharp change of direction in 2007, with her appointment as Principal Second Violin with the Hallé. She held this position for six years, combining symphony orchestra life with a busy programme of teaching and chamber music, both as violinist and viola player. After leaving the Halle, she took up her current position at the RNCM whilst continuing to perform regularly as Guest Principal with many leading orchestras, including BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Welsh National Opera. She continues to fuel her passion for chamber music and is involved with a number of charitable organisations that support young musicians

Selected Outputs


  • Gavin Bryars The Sinking of the Titanic, Psappha, String Quartet, Islington Mill, Salford