Catrin Woodruff
Freelance classical singer and teacher

  • BA in Music, 2011

How did you find your way into your current position?

I went straight into postgraduate study on leaving York, gaining an MMus and PGDip in Vocal and Opera Studies from the Royal Northern College of Music. Since graduating from the RNCM I have worked as a freelance performer in the UK and abroad, with companies including Pop-Up Opera and the Edvard Grieg Kor. I also teach singing both privately and at schools, and enjoy balancing these two sides of my musical career.

What are your strongest memories of your time at York?

My strongest memories of my time at York all involve performing. I was lucky enough to tour China with The 24 in 2010, memorised every single chorus from Bach's St.John Passion for the 2008 Practical Project, and put on a performance of Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel in the SJLCH as part of my dissertation project. I was a member of OperaSoc throughout my time at York, and loved organising and performing in operas - highlights for me were Die Fledermaus and The Dialogues of the Carmelites.

How did York prepare you for your career?

York is a place where students are expected to be proactive, have their own ideas and question everything. These are crucial skills to have in a career as a freelance musician! York also provided me with a huge number of wide-ranging performance opportunities - everything from historically informed performances of Purcell semi-operas to contemporary choral music and jazz improvisation, without which I couldn't have begun to hone my skills as a performer.

What advice would you have for current students?

My advice would be to take as many of the opportunities offered to you as you possibly can! Join the department ensembles and also find like-minded students to perform with and arrange your own concerts. Join societies such as MEG, Music Soc and OperaSoc, as they can provide invaluable platforms to hone your skills in whichever areas of music you'd like to persue. And study what really interests you!

Any other comments?

York's music department is the perfect environment to nurture your development as a musician. The atmosphere of support and creativity is wonderful, and the opportunities to think, create and perform were hugely valuable to me during my time as a student.

Catrin Woodruff