About Us – Coaches

Catherine Birke | MYO Coach

Catherine Birke is a professional violinist and orchestra director from Port Washington, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Temple University, where she studied with former Co-Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, William DePasquale, and a Master of Music degree from the University of the Arts. Catherine is currently on the faculty of the Herricks School District where she is the High School Orchestra Director and conducts three thriving string orchestras. Her ensembles consistently earn the highest rating of “Gold with Distinction,” at the NYSSMA Major Evaluation Festival, as well as other regional festivals and competitions. In 2018, under her direction, the Herricks High School Chamber Orchestra placed 1st in the country in the High School String Orchestra category at the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Orchestra Festival, held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mrs. Birke’s small chamber ensembles consistently earn high honors as well, including annual participation in the Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA) Chamber Music Festival and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society’s Young Musicians Program (YMP) competition. As part of YMP in 2018, the Herricks Cello Quartet gave the NYC premiere of Bryan Wysocki’s piece, “reOrient,” at Alice Tully Hall. In 2019 the Herricks Cello Quartet and the Herricks Clarinet Trio, coached by Mrs. Birke, were accepted into the Music for All (MFA) National Chamber Music Festival held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mrs. Birke is also the Associate Conductor and head of strings at the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) School of Orchestral Studies. At NYSSSA, she directs the string orchestra, runs sectionals, and supervises all string chamber music. She serves on the boards of multiple professional organizations, and is currently serving in her 2nd year as the Vice President for the Nassau Music Educators Association (NMEA), Division IV. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Birke maintains an active performing career playing with numerous orchestras and opera companies in the NY metropolitan area. She is currently serving as Concertmaster of the South Shore Symphony, based in Rockville Centre, NY. Her other recent performance credits include concerts with the North Shore Music Festival (Concertmaster and Orchestra Manager), Garden State Philharmonic (Principal Second Violin), and the Amore Opera Company (Concertmaster). She has played under such conductors as Charles Dutoit, Russell Stanger, Luis Biava, John Douglas, and Scott Jackson Wiley.

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