Catherine Likhuta


Catherine Likhuta (b. 5/28/1981 in Kyiv, Ukraine) is an Australian-based composer, pianist and recording artist. Her music exhibits high emotional charge, programmatic nature and rhythmic complexity. Her works have been commissioned and performed throughout North America, Europe and Australia by many prominent soloists and ensembles, such as Paul Dean, Peter Luff, Adam Unsworth, Griffin Campbell, Ronald Caravan, HD Duo, The Australian Voices, Atlantic Brass Quintet, Best of Brass, Western Brass Quintet, Collusion, Barega Saxophone Quartet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra Horns, U.S. Army Fields Band Horns, Cornell University Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony, Queensland Conservatorium Wind Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the National Radio of Ukraine.

Her music has been performed at several international events, including the International Horn Symposium (2014, 2015) and World Saxophone Congress (2015). Her concertino for five horns entitled “Hard to Argue” became the winner of the 2014 International Horn Society Composition Contest, virtuoso division. She has delivered presentations on her work at a number of institutions, including Cornell University, Ithaca College, Arizona State University, Syracuse University, Bowling Green State University, Butler University, Queensland Conservatorium and the University of Queensland.

Catherine enjoys participating in the performances of her works as a pianist. In particular, she was the soloist on the premiere, as well as the CD recording, of Out Loud, her piano concerto commissioned by the Cornell University Wind Ensemble. She was the pianist on Adam Unsworth’s CD Snapshots (which featured two of her works) and has played recitals with Adam Unsworth at Eastman, Northwestern University, Temple University, Cornell University, University of Michigan, and Queensland Conservatorium. Her music can be heard on Albany, Equilibrium, and Cala Records.

Composer website:

Featured Works

Let the Darkness Out, for alto saxophone and piano.

We all have some darkness underneath that smile. Some of us have more than others…  It so happened that the fate of Let the Darkness Out was affected by two of my other pieces. When I was commissioned to write this work, I just finished a very dark and dramatic horn trio. I thought that this new piece would be a good opportunity for me to compose something peaceful and happy. However,  when I was about to start working on it, I was asked to also write a very positive, light, innocent, and full of joy children’s choir. I thought that I was not the best person to write something like this to begin with, and definitely not two times in a row. So I decided to make sure I put any of the darkness I have left in me (and it turned out there was actually quite a lot) into this saxophone sonata to get it all out of my system. As a result, Let the Darkness Out is truly sincere and reflects my real musical inner-world.

Featured in Duo Waves, December 2016

Smuggling Methods, for violin, double-bass, percussion and piano.

Smuggling Methods was written for my good friend violinist Timothy Ball. When you hear the words “violin concertino”, what are the first instrument pairings that come to your mind? I bet you wouldn’t immediately think of African drums… Smuggling Methods combines violin and djembe, which are rarely seen/heard together, yet perfectly accentuate each other’s expressive features. When you add double-bass, marimba, and piano to the mix, you end up with a daring, refreshingly reckless ensemble (which is exactly what inspired both the title and the musical ideas). Bass, piano and percussion, while having their own rather virtuosic parts, are also working together to create the perfect environment for violin to showcase its many different personalities: from lyrical to creepy, from dramatic to desperate, from sneaky to aggressively percussive.

Featured in Playlist 8 – String Waves, 31/08/2015

Rondo, for piano.

Rondo (2001) is a short virtuosic jazz-influenced piano piece. It is my oldest work that is a favourite of most listeners as it is easy to appreciate. The piece is also available in a solo marimba version, which was commissioned by Isabelle Huang in 2007.

Featured in Playlist 3: Boundary-Crossing Waves (31/03/2015)