The English violinist, Catherine Mackintosh, studied violin with Aurea Pernel and Silvia Rosenberg at the Royal College of Music, London. During her student years, she studied chamber music with Kenneth Skeaping and sang in Roger Norrington's Schütz choir. She was then awarded a three-year scholarship (1967-1969) to attend the European Seminars of Early Music in Bruges, where she performed on the early (Baroque) violin and viola, the viola d'amore, and the viol. She was one of the first of her generation to specialize in early string-playing techniques
Catherine Mackintosh has been one of the most active violinists on the English early music scene. Following her studies, she was immediately in demand from such pioneering groups as Musica Reservata. In 1969, she helped found the Consort of Musicke (with whom she sometimes played up to seven instruments in one concert!) and also joined the English Consort of Viols. In 1973, she became the first concertmistress of The Academy of Ancient Music, a position she held until 1987. During her fifteen-year tenure with this orchestra, she made important recordings under the direction of Christopher Hogwood, including George Frideric Handel's Messiah, the complete Mozart symphonies, and Antonio Vivaldi's L'estro armonico and the Four Seasons (sharing the solo parts in these concertos with Alison Bury, John Holloway, and Monica Huggett). In 1984, Mackintosh founded the Purcell Quartet, and has concentrated more on solo and chamber music. With the Purcell Quartet she recorded trio sonatas by Lawes, Purcell, Biber, Arcangelo Corelli, G.F. Handel, and Leclair. That same year, she became co-concertmistress with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with which she made the first recording on period instruments of A. Vivaldi's concertos for viola d'amore. In 1989 she recorded J.S. Bach concertos for violin with The Kings Consort for Hyperion, and in 1997, the J.S. Bach violin sonatas with Maggie Cole.
Catherine Mackintosh is an influential teacher of the early violin, having trained a new generation of period-instrument string players. She has taught Baroque and classical violin and viola at the Royal College of Music, London (1977-1999). She is frequently invited to direct workshops and give master-classes. She is visiting professor of Baroque violin and viola at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (from 1988).