Flutist Catherine Ramirez is noted for her sensitive musicianship, compelling artistry and captivating performances. Winner of three top prizes at the “Città di Padova” International Music Competitions in Italy (the only American awarded), and First Prize in the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition, she has been featured as a soloist and chamber musician at such venues as the Teatro del Giglio in Italy, Beijing Concert Hall in China, The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall, Salt Lake City’s Temple Square, and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York. Recognized as an engaging teacher of flute and chamber music, she currently serves as Artist-in-Residence at St. Olaf College, and has taught masterclasses at universities, colleges and conservatories in Europe, South America, Asia, and throughout the United States.
A versatile musician praised as “an astonishing artist,” whose “conviction and communication are incredibly powerful,” Catherine’s core repertoire spans from the Baroque era to today. She has collaborated with Leone Buyse, James Dunham, Ben Kamins, Lachezar Kostov, René Izquierdo, Mathias Kunzli, Nerea Berraondo, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and with members of the Minnesota Orchestra. Since 2014, she has performed regularly with guitarist Eva Beneke. Awarded the Sallie Shepherd Perkins Prize for Best Achievement from Rice University, she also performed as principal flutist in highlight concerts with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and soprano Renée Fleming. Other orchestra highlights include performances with L’Offerta Musicale Chamber Orchestra of Venice (Italy), the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, the El Paso Opera Orchestra, the El Paso Symphony Orchestras, Minnesota Orchestra, and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Recent activities include performances at the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention, the Kentucky Flute Festival, a guest artist residency with the Montana Flute Association, as well as concerts in colleges and community venues in the upper Midwest. In addition to teaching, she also recently performed with other St. Olaf faculty on several new compositions by Minnesota artists, and on the “Pierrot Project,” based on the theatrical and historical contexts of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Upcoming events include the making of video recordings in Berlin, Germany, with guitarist Eva Beneke, performances with the Houston Ballet, concerts with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a performance at the National Flute Association Convention in Orlando, Florida.
Beyond the concert hall and teaching studios, Catherine is committed to engaging with the community through meaningful encounters. In an effort to serve those suffering from physical and mental challenges, Catherine recently presented her Albany Records program “Shelter From The Storm” at mental health facilities and cancer treatment programs in Minnesota. To serve those who do not have access to live concert music, she also presented a Latin and South American chamber music series for youth recovering from addictions, and for children with autism and other developmental challenges. She has taken chamber music to patient guests and their families at MD Anderson’s Rotary House International in Houston, as well as to nuns in a convent in Colombia. In collaboration with faculty colleague Dale Kruse, she also taught a combined flute and voice masterclass at retirement communities in Northfield, Minnesota. She has premiered many works, including Daniel Kellogg’s “Into Utter Forever,” a special joint commission with the Lake Shore Chamber Music Series in Chicago that musically explores the Resurrection. In addition to serving the community through performing and teaching, she has published articles in Flute Talk Magazine, and her work on optimal musical communication has been featured in The Flute View Online Magazine and on the cover of The National Flute Association's Flutist Quarterly.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, to Colombian and Mexican-American parents, Catherine grew up in the U.S.-Mexico border city of El Paso, Texas. She began playing the flute in the sixth grade public school band, and started private flute lessons at age 18. She earned performance degrees from Occidental College (BA), the Boccherini Music Institute in Italy (Honors Diploma), Queens College (MA), Yale University School of Music (MM), and Rice University (DMA). Her major teachers include Melissa Colgin-Abeln, Gary Woodward, Marzio Conti, Tara Helen O'Connor, Ransom Wilson and Leone Buyse. A lover of travel and languages, she currently resides in Minnesota.