While her high school peers were dancing to the Beatles, Catherine Liddell was enthralled with the music of lutenist Julian Bream. This excitement caused her to give up the viola da gamba and take up the lute. Throughout high school and college, Ms. Liddell’s teachers included America’s best: Martha Blackman, James Tyler, Joseph Iadone and Suzanne Bloch. Several important opportunities came her way including recordings for Nonesuch, Experiences Anonymes and Lyrichord.

After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Liddell continued her studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland studying lute with Eugen Dombois. Classes in the performance of medieval music with Thomas Binkley led to a recording of 14th century estampie (“Estampie”) for EMI Reflex. She earned the Soloist Diploma in 1976 and has been performing ever since.

As a lute duo with Robert Strizich, Ms. Liddell performed in concerts and workshops across the US an din Europe. Together they recorded three LPs: "Renaissance Duos," "Baroque Duets," and "Capricci Harmonici - Duets for Baroque Guitars and Lute." She also recorded a solo album "Music of Gautier, Mouton and J.S. Bach" performing her own transcription of the first cello suite of Bach (BWV 1007).

In 1981, Ms. Liddell and soprano Sally Sanford co-founded Ensemble Chanterelle, which made its New York Debut to critical acclaim in 1984 as winner of the Concert Artist Guild Award. The ensemble performed across the US and recorded "Venetian Monody in the Age of Monteverdi."

Ms. Liddell is known for her skill and sensitivity in improvising continuo accompaniments. She has performed with many ensembles in North America: the Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Boston Baroque, Tafelmusik (Toronto), Folger Consort (DC), Smithsonian Chamber Ensemble (DC), the Four Nations Ensemble (NYC), Seattle Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Les Idées Heureuses (Montréal) among others. Festival performances include the Aston Magna Festival (MA), Boston Early Music Festival, Connecticut Early Music Festival and Northwest Bach Festival (WA).

Ms. Liddell is currently Lecturer in Lute at Boston University and has served on the faculties of the Longy School of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory and the Five Colleges Early Music Program. She has taught regularly at the Lute Society of America bi-annual summer seminar and is serving her third term as President of the Lute Society of America.

Her affinity and love for 17th Century French lute repertoire led to recording “La belle voilée: 17th Century French Lute Music by Jacques Gallot and others.” She is the editor of "Sacred Music for Lute" published by Lyre Music Publications.



The Guitar, Theorbo
and Lute Works
of Robert DeVisée:
A Study of His
Process of Arranging

© 2023 Catherine Liddell