Kate van Orden studied modern bassoon at Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam and baroque bassoon at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague. She began her performing and recording career on period instruments with European ensembles including Les Arts Florissants, La Petite Bande, and La Chapelle Royale. In America she has performed regularly with Tafelmusik, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and the American Bach Soloists. She also studies the French Renaissance and is associate professor in the Music Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
She has published a book entitled Music, Discipline, and Arms in Early Modern France (Chicago, 1995). As part of that research project, she reconstructed an equestrian ballet from 1612 and directed its performance at the Berkeley Festival of Early Music, 2000 and 2002.