Catherine Hewgill began studying cello in Perth, and in 1978 travelled to London for a year's study at the Royal College of Music. She then studied at the University of Southern California and the Santa Barbara Music Academy, and was a Fellow at the Aspen Summer Music Festival.
In 1984 she won the Hammer-Rostropovich Scholarship and was invited by Rostropovich to perform in a recital at the Second American Cello Congress. A period of private study with Rostropovich followed. She then toured Europe with I Solisti Veneti, and studied with William Pleeth in London. On her return to Australia she joined the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
In 1989 she joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and was appointed Principal Cello the following year. She has performed as a soloist with most of the Australian symphony orchestras and her concerto appearances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra have included: Haydn's Sinfonia concertante and C major and D major concertos (the latter conducted by Charles Dutoit), Elgar's Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, the Boccherini/Grützmacher Concerto in B flat, Dutilleux's Tout un monde lointain, the Brahms Double Concerto with Michael Dauth, and as a soloist in concerts with Nigel Kennedy. She is also an active chamber musician and highlights include a performance of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time with Reinbert de Leeuw and colleagues from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
In 2003 she toured Japan with the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and Michael Dauth, performing the Brahms Double, and in 2011 she played principal cello in the inaugural concerts of the Australian World Orchestra, comprising 110 of Australia's leading musicians drawn from 47 orchestras around the world.
Catherine Hewgill plays a 1729 Carlo Tononi cello.