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 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, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York.
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, and embraces explorations into jazz improv, early consort music, and traditional Jewish, Greek, and South American music. She has collaborated with such artists as Leone Buyse, James Dunham, Ben Kamins, Lachezar Kostov, Ina Selvelieva, Michael Mizrahi, René Izquierdo, Mathias Kunzli, Nerea Berraondo, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and with members of the Minnesota Orchestra and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Since 2014, she has performed regularly with guitarist Eva Beneke. To serve those who do not have access to live concert music, Catherine 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. 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. In addition to performing, she has published articles in Flute Talk Magazine, and her work on optimal musical communication has been featured on the cover of The National Flute Association's Flutist Quarterly. Recognized as an engaging teacher, she has taught masterclasses at conservatories, colleges and universities in Italy, China, Colombia, and throughout the United States. She is currently Artist-in-Residence at St. Olaf College.
Awarded the Sallie Shepherd Perkins Prize for Best Achievement from Rice University, she performed at Rice as principal flutist in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Lalo Schifrin’s Tangos Concertantes with violinist Cho-Liang Lin, and Strauss’ Four Last Songs with soprano Renée Fleming. Other orchestra highlights include performances with L’Offerta Musicale Chamber Orchestra of Venice (Italy), the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, El Paso Opera and El Paso Symphony Orchestras, Minnesota Orchestra, and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Recent activities include a residency with the Montana Flute Association, performances in New York and New Jersey, and recitals at colleges and community venues in the upper Midwest. Upcoming projects include a solo recording with MPR Studios, a performance at the National Flute Association Convention in Minneapolis, and concerts with guitarist Eva Beneke. In addition to teaching, she will perform 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.
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.