Cathal Garvey initially studied violin and piano with Cork ETB and at the Cork School of Music, before reading Music at University College Cork. Having completed his Master’s Degree in Conducting, he then continued his violin studies at the College of Moscow Conservatory.
After conducting musicals in Cork and Dublin, he went on to work on over fifty productions as Chorus Master for most of Ireland’s major opera companies, including Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, Anna Livia Opera Festival, Opera South and Lyric Opera.
In Dublin, he regularly conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Orchestra of St Cecilia, Dublin Symphony Orchestra, Irish Sinfonia, Dublin Baroque Players, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music Wind Ensemble. From 2001 to 2006 he was Principal Conductor of the Dublin Orchestral Players and from 2004 to 2009 was Musical Director of Dun Laoghaire Choral Society.
Cathal moved to the UK in 2009 to take up the position of Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor with Grange Park Opera. Since then, he has conducted London International Orchestra, Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra, Southern Sinfonia, Charivari Agréable, London Repertoire Orchestra, Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra, I Maestri, BYMT Staff Orchestra, London Medical Orchestra, and Morley College Choir. He is also Musical Director of both Newbury Choral Society and Billingshurst Choral Society. Cathal is founder and Artistic Director of the Ulysses Symphony Orchestra, from which he then formed its professional sister-orchestra, London Ulysses Orchestra, taking them on a six-city tour of China in 2017, including a performance in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
As a violinist, he has continued to play professionally across the south-east of England. He is on the Conducting staff of the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded an Honarary ARAM by the Academy in 2019.