“There is probably no more inspirational musician working today than Podger” (Gramophone). Rachel Podger, “the queen of the baroque violin” (Sunday Times), has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical music periods. She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in October 2015. A creative programmer she is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque, and was resident artist at Kings Place for their 2016 season Baroque Unwrapped. Rachel celebrates her 50th birthday in 2018 with a much-anticipated recording of Bach cello suites on violin, a recording of Vivaldi Four Seasons, and an exciting and innovative collaboration with world-renowned a cappella group VOCES8, ‘Guardian Angel’.
Recent engagements include a collaboration with Kristian Bezuidenhout with performances in Italy (Padova), Katowice (Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra), Antwerp (AMUZ), Amsterdam (Noorderkerkconcerten), Den Haag, Germany (Kiel), Spain (Seville), Music at Oxford, and Boston Early Music Festival (USA). This summer, Rachel led Brecon Baroque in their debut at the Edinburgh International Festival, and performed solo recitals and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 throughout the UK and Europe with harpsichordist Marcin Swiatkiewicz, Rachel collaborated with acclaimed vocal group I Fagiolini to open the BBC Proms Chamber Music Series.
Rachel’s 17/18 concert calendar is triple crowned by an extensive tour to Australia (Musica Viva) & Europe with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performing Mozart, a tour of Vivaldi Four Seasons with her own Brecon Baroque to celebrate the CD, and an exciting new collaboration, Guardian Angel, with star vocal ensemble VOCES8. Inspired by her BBC Music Magazine Award winning disc and including Biber’s Passacaglia of the same name, Podger’s serene and beguiling virtuosity is the guiding voice in Guardian Angel amidst choral masterpieces sung by the ‘impeccable’ (Gramophone) VOCES8. Including a new commission by upcoming composer Owain Park, and works by VOCES8 composer in residence Jonathan Dove and Sir James MacMillan, this meditative programme will tour international festivals throughout 2018/2019. Guardian Angel will be premiered in March 2018. Further treats include a tour with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, solo concerts and tours to Spain, Holland, Japan and the Canary Islands, and appearances at the Wigmore Hall and Lincoln Center.
As a director and soloist, Rachel has enjoyed countless collaborations with musicians all over the world. Highlights include Robert Levin, Jordi Savall, Masaaki Suzuki, European Union Baroque Orchestra, English Concert, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Academy of Ancient Music, Holland Baroque Society, Tafelmusik (Toronto), and within the USA the Berwick Academy, the Handel and Haydn Society, Berkeley Early Music, Oregon Bach Festival, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Rachel records exclusively for Channel Classics with over 25 discs including the complete Mozart Sonatas. Bach Art of Fugue with Brecon Baroque was released in September 2016 to rave reviews “with playing of this sophistication, the restricted sound palette works wonderfully, supporting a calm, ruminative exploration of the many fugal devices” (The Guardian). Her latest recording with Brecon Baroque, Grandissima Gravita, will be released in September 2017.
Rachel has won numerous awards including two Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Awards for La Stravaganza (2003) and Biber Rosary Sonatas (2016), the Diapason d’Or de l’année in the Baroque Ensemble category for La Cetra Vivaldi concertos (2012), a BBC Music Magazine Award in the instrumental category for Guardian Angel (2014), and multiple Diapasons d’Or. The complete Vivaldi L’Estro Armonico concertos (2015) with Brecon Baroque was Record of the Month for both BBC Music and Gramophone Magazines, won the concerto category of the 2016 BBC Music Magazine Award, was awarded a Diapason d’Or and was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award (2015).
She is a dedicated educator and holds an honorary position at both the Royal Academy of Music, where she holds the Micaela Comberti Chair for Baroque Violin (founded in 2008), and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she holds the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Baroque Violin. She also has a developing relationship with The Juilliard School in New York. Rachel Podger is managed worldwide by Percius. www.percius.co.uk
‘Inspirational originality elicits inspirational playing’ BBC Music Magazine, Record of the Month