Cathy Irons began violin studies at the age of nine. As a young teenager, she won several awards at the Natal Eisteddfod, including the P. Frederick Holder Bursary, the J.N. Cooler Memorial and Athel Kirken award, and travelled to England, Germany, Austria, Jersey Island and Italy where she performed with a string quartet. She continued her studies at the University of Natal, South Africa, where she received awards for her high academic results, graduating with distinction from the University of Natal, with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Orchestral Performance. In her final year of study she received a cadetship with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, which she joined subsequently before immigrating to Christchurch.
Cathy is active in performing recitals with several chamber groups, touring concerts regularly throughout NZ and broadcasting on South African and NZ radio and television. Together with Tomas Hurnik and Vyvyan Yendoll, she formed the Tres Cordes string trio which toured for Chamber Music New Zealand in 2013. She has performed for the IceFest, Platform Festival, the Body Festival, Dunedin Fringe Festival and Arts Festivals in Christchurch and Nelson. She currently leads the Jubilate Chamber Orchestra and has been acting concertmaster for Orchestra Wellington.
Cathy has performed concertos with amateur and professional orchestras in New Zealand and South Africa. She played as part of a string quartet at the New Zealand Embassy in Japan in 2012 whilst on tour with the CSO. With an interest in contemporary music, she is a performer for Composers Association of New Zealand workshops and has premiered and commissioned several New Zealand and South African compositions. She was invited to perform a program of New Zealand and Australian music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2014. She also arranges and records for several recording studios in Christchurch. Another string to her bow is her cross-over jazz playing in her group, The Classical Jazz Quartet which played for the Cavill Leitch New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival.
Cathy is also the Community Engagement Programme Co-ordinator for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
She enjoys sailing and tramping with her family, and has two noisy but glamorous pet guinea fowls.