Rachel Podger

Britain's finest period violinist

BBC Music Magazine

intoxicating combination of power and grace

Toronto Star (with Tafelmusik)

Podger's Bach has always been special: this is indispensable.

BBC Music Magazine

Rachel Podger

Baroque violin / Director

Rachel Podger is one of the most creative talents to emerge in the field of period performance. Over the last two decades she has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. She was educated in Germany and in England at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti.

After beginnings with The Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium, she was leader of The English Concert from 1997 to 2002 and in 2004 began a guest directorship with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with whom she appeared in a televised BBC Prom in 2007. As a guest director and soloist she has collaborated with numerous orchestras including Arte dei Suonatori (Poland), Musica Angelica and Santa Fe Pro Musica (USA), The Academy of Ancient Music, The European Union Baroque Orchestra, Holland Baroque Society and the Handel and Haydn Society (USA). Rachel has toured and recorded extensively with fortepianist Gary Cooper.

Rachel records exclusively for Channel Classics and has won numerous prestigious awards, including Diapasons d’Or (Telemann’s Twelve Fantasies for Solo Violin; Vivaldi’s 12 violin concertos, La Stravaganza) and a Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Award for La Stravaganza in 2003. Additionally, her highly acclaimed interpretations of J.S.Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin and his Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord (with Trevor Pinnock) were both awarded first place by the BBC's "Building a Library" programme. In 2012 Rachel won the Diapason d’Or de l’année in the Baroque Ensemble category for her recording of the La Cetra Vivaldi concertos with Holland Baroque and in 2014 she won a BBC Music Magazine award in the instrumental category for Guardian Angel, a solo disc of Biber, Bach, Pisendel and Tartini, Rachel’s next release is Perla Barocca, a disc of 17th century Italian violin music with harpsichordist Marcin Swiatkiewicz and lutenist Daniele Caminiti. 

Rachel directs her own ensemble, Brecon Baroque, with whom she has recorded Bach's Violin Concertos (2010), and Bach's Double and Triple Concertos, released in May 2013 to widespread critical acclaim. She is also Artistic Director of her own festival: the Brecon Baroque Festival. Rachel is an honorary member of 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 and teaches at institutions throughout the world.

Future engagements include international tours with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the European Union Baroque Orchestra. During 2014-15 she will also give recitals across the UK and Europe (including a series of performances of the Biber ‘Mystery’ Sonatas), as well as masterclasses and performances with Brecon Baroque.

This biography is for information only, and should not be re-printed. Please use the link below to download the version for concert programmes.

Download 2014-15 Biography (.docx)

Download 2014-15 Publicity Photo (.jpg) - Credit: Jonas Sacks