Catherine Carignan was born and raised in the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada. As a child, she experienced playing the piano and violin, but ended up falling by the bassoon at the age of twelve. At fifteen, she entered the Conservatoire de musique du Québec and had weekly lessons with Michel Bettez, Principal Bassoon of the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.
From 1999 to 2007, Catherine appeared as a guest bassoonist in several Canadian orchestras, as she perfected her skills under some of the best bassoon players of the world by participating in several masterclasses in Canada, the United States, Germany and Brazil. From 2003 to 2005, she studied with Nadina Mackie Jackson at Glenn Gould School of the Royal Academy of Music in Toronto.
In April 2007, she obtained her BA in Music from Conservatoire de musique du Québec, under Mathieu Harel from the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. A few months later, she crossed Canada to become the Second Bassoon of Victoria Symphony Orchestra, where she has worked for a year. Catherine moved again in October 2008, this time changing hemisphere to join the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Bassoon.