Cathal Breslin has been praised worldwide as one of the most exciting pianists of his generation with critical acclaim such as “superb intensity and passion” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “energized and energizing” (Belfast Telegraph), “a deep connection to the music” (Tampa Oracle), and “noble poetry” (The Independent, London). Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, a growing international career has taken him to concert halls throughout Europe, U.S.A. and Asia, including halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
Recent concerto performances have been the Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, and Takemitsu concerti with the Turin Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, BBC Ulster Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony NC, Jackson Symphony TN, Camerata Ireland, RTE Concert Orchestra, with prestigious conductors such as Vladimir Altschuler, Giovanni Battista Rigon, David Brophy, Matthew Coorey, Barry Douglas, Christian Gansch, Gearoid Grant, Robert Houlihan, Courtney Lewis, Peter Shannon, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, and Niklas Willen.
Recent solo recitals in Asia have been throughout China, Korea and Japan; in the United States in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and Texas in United States; in Europe throughout Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland and Portugal, U.K. and Ireland. Highlights in recent Seasons included a Carnegie Hall Recital in New York City, in Madrid, Lisbon, Sofia, Warsaw, recitals in Beijing, Tianjin, Nanjing, Qingdao, Ningbo, Suzhou, and Chongqing in China, concerts in Seoul and Busan in Korea, and Tokyo in Japan.
As a chamber musician, Cathal performs as a member of Trio Festivale, and in duo recitals with flutists Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway, violinists Augustin Dumay, Anne Akiko Meyers, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Kirill Troussov, Ye-Eun Choi, oboist Nicholas Daniel, cellists Jan Vogler, Raphael Wallfisch, and Jeffrey Zeigler. Other chamber music performances have included with the Brodsky Quartet, Houston Symphony Winds, Fitzwilliam Quartet, the Ceruti Quartet, and the Coull Quartet, and percussionists Andy Akiho and Ian Rosenbaum. Recent concert season highlights have included a major North American concert tour with Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway in Florida, Colorado and Canada, recitals with violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky and soprano Measha Brueggergosman, Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1 and Rachmaninov Concerto No.2 with the BBC Ulster Orchestra, Poulenc Double Piano Concerto with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Liszt Tottentanz with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.
Cathal was awarded the Bronze Medal at the Viotti International Piano Competition in Vercelli/ Milan, Italy, a World Federation International Music Competition. Other international competition successes have included top prizes in “Carlet” in Valencia, “Grand Konzerteum” in Athens, and “Iowa” in the U.S. He has broadcast regularly for BBC Radio 3, RTE and Radio Ulster, RTVE Spain, and has performed on Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Irish Television many times. His Mozart and Takemitsu recordings for the European Broadcasting Union network have been broadcast in over 30 countries worldwide (including NPR, BBC, ABC, etc.) In 2020, he released a critically acclaimed new solo piano album entitled “Mirage” with the Blue Griffin label, featuring works by Rachmaninov, Chopin, De Falla and Brahms.
Cathal began his Conservatory studies at the Royal College of Music in London with John Barstow, continuing at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Kathryn Stott, Benjamin Frith and Alexander Melnikov. He then lived in Madrid for two years studying with Joaquin Soriano. In 2008 he received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan, studying with Arthur Greene, where he was also a Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant.
Cathal greatly appreciates the kind financial support throughout his career from the Arts Council of N. Ireland, BBC, Culture Ireland, Diageo Ireland, Fulbright Ireland, and the Bank of Ireland.
In 2008 Cathal and his wife, American flutist Sabrina Hu, became Founding Artistic Directors of the Walled City Music Festival in Derry, Northern Ireland, with the aim of creating a brighter future for young musicians in N. Ireland – dramatically changing the culture of classical music with fresh, innovative and exciting programs from the world’s most exceptional musicians. The Walled City Music Festival is creating a new generation of young musicians and strengthening communities with it’s outreach activities. Now in it’s 12th year, the Walled City Music Festival has featured Artists such as Sir James Galway, Kronos Quartet, Katia and Marielle Labeque, Measha Brueggergosman, Augustin Dumay, Anne Akiko Meyers, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Jan Vogler, Raphael Wallfisch, Li-Wei Qin, Jeffrey Zeigler, Nicholas Daniel, Jeremy Denk, Andy Akiho, Tine Thing Helseth, Emma Johnson, Colin Currie, Jonathan Fa’afetai Lemalu, Houston Symphony Winds, Brodsky Quartet, Fitzwilliam Quartet, Gould Piano Trio, Coull Quartet, and many other world-renowned musicians. He also founded the WCM International Piano Festival and Competition, an annual event which has attracted pianists from over 20 countries to participate.
Cathal is also a dedicated and innovative teacher, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Piano at Arizona State University in the School of Music at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He was an Assistant Professor of Piano and the Coordinator of Piano Studies at the University of Memphis in Tennessee since 2013. Previous faculty positions included Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, and Queen’s University in Belfast, N. Ireland. In addition to his positions as a Professor, he has taught master classes and lectured at Universities and Conservatories in the U.S., Canada, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Portugal, Bulgaria, Spain, U.K. and Ireland. Among other competitions, he has served as jury member of the prestigious 2015 Valencia International Piano Competition “José Iturbi” in Spain, a World Federation Competition. In 2020, he initiated the first historic 4-way connection using Yamaha Disklavier technology for teaching in 4 cities at the same time, in collaboration with Yamaha China. He is an exclusive Yamaha Artist.