About Catherine Shrubshall
In 1983 I packed up my beloved saxophones and clarinets and left my rural Essex home to study music and performance arts in London. From there I embarked on a wonderful and entertaining professional life as a freelance woodwind player and educator, travelling all around the world for many years. I have lived predominantly in London, with brief sojourns to North Yorkshire and Rome along the way. However, In 2015 I decided to return to my Essex roots to embark on the next chapter of my professional development.
2020 presents amazing opportunities to take inspiration from the countryside and the huge Essex skyscapes as I collect exciting material for new work. I am collaborating with many different artists and students in order to share and develop my experiences... interactive freestyling with music, poetry and prose alongside offering consultation lessons and improvisation coaching.
In addition to all this I am continuing with a peripatetic lifestyle that often takes me back to London where I maintain a regular teaching practice. I am also currently working with projects in Nottinghamshire and Suffolk, and am open to travelling anywhere that can employ and absorb my creative skills.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MY CAREER
Some of the highlights of my varied and diverse career are: playing contrabass saxophone on the “Strange Cargo” tour with William Orbit, leading 400 saxophonists on an improvised musical march through the City of London, backing Lovers Rock icon Barry Biggs, being rowed around the Highgate ladies pond while improvising, developing an exciting new musical as part of a “Glyndebourne Opera” outreach project, touring with Ballet Rambert and Shobanah Jeyasingh Dance, opening the 1st Royal Festival Hall’s “Meltdown Festival” with “Icebreaker” and guesting on BBC2’s “Later….with Jools Holland”.
catherine shrubshall - freelance musician and educationalist
“When I started playing saxophone aged 10, I had no idea that music would play such a fundamental role in my life. Catherine took me from not being able to play a note to a grade 8 distinction during my time at school. Through weekly lessons, Catherine shared her love of jazz, funk and soul amongst a wide array of other genres and styles. Further, through ensembles held at Centre for Young Musicians, Catherine encouraged me and my fellow students to be confident and creative in a improvised ‘jam’ context. It is thanks to Catherine that I now play with a professional standard big band at University and continue to nurture the passion for music that she has instilled in me. Not only is she a brilliant saxophonist and inspiring teacher, but a great friend. I am infinitely grateful for the time I have spent with Catherine and would fully recommend her tutelage to anyone with a desire to improve and have a great time in the process.”
Billy Huband-Thompson – Ex-Student now studying at Bristol University
“Catherine is a stunning musician – seeing and hearing her play saxophone is one of life’s great pleasures! She communicates joy, pain and excitement in the way only music can. Catherine is also blessed with the ability to share her skill with people of all ages and backgrounds through her teaching – she inspires and motivates us all. Catherine is a brilliant project manager and events’ organiser, creative and well organised, she adds a sparkle to whatever she decides to do.”
Carrie Supple – Director of “Journey to Justice” journeytojustice.org.uk
Re: Leaving Employment at CYM in 2011
“Catherine has given distinguished service over many years now and the institution will be poorer without her. She is one of the most talented teachers I have had the privilege to work with and a wonderful musician in her own right. I will miss her enormously both on Saturday and on the Open Access Holiday Courses. Catherine has also contributed hugely to CYM’s outreach programme featuring the CYM Saxophone Ensembles in prestigious venues all over the capital. Many cohorts of students have much to thank her for and the current intake will be deeply saddened by her going.”
Stephen Dagg – Director of “London’s Centre for Young Musicians” (CYM) – a division of the Guildhall School of Music