American Professional Orchestral and Chamber Musician Cate Howard Heads Settles in D&G

Originally from the USA, Cate has lived and played in America, Africa and Germany, following the path of her violin until she settled in New Galloway in August 2016 to teach the region’s aspiring young musicians the art of her craft.

Cate has a number of prestigious awards to her name, including the Daniel Orjiako Foundation Award in recognition of her contributions as a performer and organiser of numerous benefit concerts for the building of clinics, improved education opportunities, and the prevention of AIDS in southern Africa. In 2008, she published her first book How the Violin Plays the Violinist. In 2010, Cate was awarded the Massachusetts ASTA “studio teacher of the year”.

Now she heads-up Galloway Violin Studios in Parton where, in her own inimitable style and a wealth of professional experience behind her, she teaches children to play the violin her way.

Cate said: “I have spent my life following the violin. I go where the music takes me.
“What attracted me to the director’s post of Galloway Violin Studios was that the children were very well trained and prepared as young violinists but I could see there were areas where I could take them further with technique and musical aspects. I felt they needed something to unify them as a group and motivate them individually. Forming an ensemble was the perfect way to accomplish this.”

The young musicians from Galloway Violin Studios hail from across the region, from Dumfries to Palnackie. All are from different walks of life and have their own strengths but all have the violin in common and love to perform in public.

Cate said: “The children love to play together and I wanted them to be able to play music, as an ensemble, from the classical repertoire and also use the violin as an instrument to create sound effects. Through dialogue and music, we present a movie for the ears and heart. The visuals are left to the listeners’ imaginations.
The children will perform Galloway Sound Stories at the Cresset Hall, Loch Arthur, Beeswing, on Saturday, 3 February, at 2pm.
Cate explained: “Last year, we developed a programme of two ‘sound’ stories which would bring the young players into new music and, at the same time, tie them into their local heritage and history.”

The children will perform two ‘stories’ on their violins with piano accompaniment from celebrated Scottish pianist Katharine Durran and words from professional storyteller Anne Errington.

The first tale, entitled Our Story, was written by the children. This is a light-hearted fictitious tale about a local child captivated by the violin. The piece explores sound effects possible with a violin and bow in hand, while also describing and incorporating nuances from daily life in southwestern Scotland.

The second story is set along the shores of The Solway. The Mermaid of Barnhourie is a dramatic tale of a sailor’s life including storms, shipwrecks, and love. Cate explained: “Historically and similar to ancient music, folktales were passed on through aural tradition, and in more recent times many have come to be preserved in writing. This sound story uses fragments of Bach interspersed with sound effects.

As a newcomer to Galloway, I have found not only do these stories stimulate the imagination, they also give insight into local heritage and geography. In an effort to make such tales ’real’ for our participating performers, their families and our audiences, we have enhanced the telling of The Mermaid folktale with music selections from Bach played by our young violinists.
“Last year, our teens requested that we play some repertoire from movie soundtracks, and so we have incorporated music from Amelie and Master and Commander.”

Cate will be opening the concert with a programme of music by Bach, Schumann and Kats-Chernin, accompanied by Katherine on piano.

“I would love to take this show on the road to schools and halls across the region,” Cate added. “We don’t spend all this time in the practice room for nothing. We want to take it out to the rest of the world to show that music is a very positive thing and makes the world a much better place.”

The event is sponsored by Arts Live. For tickets and further information, visit www.dgartslive.org.uk

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