John Catlow was born in Lancashire in 1940. He trained as a cellist at the Royal Manchester College of Music (predecessor of the Royal Northern College of Music) where he was awarded Distinctions for his diplomas in performance and teaching. He also won the Hiles Gold Medal for orchestral playing and the Pinson Prize for playing Bach.

He then embarked on a long and varied orchestral career with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra as Co-principal 'Cello and, for eleven years as Principal 'Cello with the English National Opera. During this time he also trained as a singer, performing as a tenor in recitals and oratorios.

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Rehearsing Paul Patterson's Millenium Mass

Camden School Choral Society - repertoire performed during John Catlow's time as Director of Music:

Bach: St John Passion, Cantata - Wachet Auf
Beethoven: Mass in C, Choral Fantasia
Brahms: Requiem, The Song of Destiny
Handel: Messiah, Israel in Egypt, Ode on Saint Cecilia's Day
Haydn: The Creation, Nelson Mass, Harmoniemesse, Paukenmesse
Mozart: Requiem
Paul Patterson: Southall Millenium Mass
Tippett: A Child of our Time

In 1981 John decided on a change of career and was appointed Director of Music at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. It was during this time that he trained as a conductor through an extramural arrangement with the Guildhall School of Music. Five years later he was appointed Director of Music at Camden School for Girls, famous for its high standard of musical performance. The school achieved outstanding standards of orchestral playing, enabling the performance of major choral works. The school's choral society which included teachers and parents, tackled the most challenging repertoire. Choral society events involved around 150 performers.


John's orchestral experience and passion for broadening pupils' experience of music led to an invitation to develop an official link between Camden School for Girls and the education department London Symphony Orchestra. Through this collaboration, pupils enjoyed creative composition projects for classes and specialised coaching for the school orchestra. They also composed and performed alongside esteemed professional musicians in some of London's top music venues.

NEXT: Camden Youth Orchestra : 1987-2010

NEXT: Lynmore Singers : 2004-2012

NEXT: Other ventures

NEXT: 2015 - A tribute from Cardinal Vaugham Memorial School

John Catlow - 'cellist and conductor
Tel: +44 (0) 1284 747 129