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Rachel Podger was born in 1968 and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (where she is now professor of baroque violin); she co-founded Florilegium and The Palladian Ensemble whilst still a student, and went on to lead The English Concert and the Gabrieli Consort and Players before founding Brecon Baroque in 2007.
Podger made her solo recording debut on Channel Classics in 1999 (following a recording of the Bach Double Concerto with Andrew Manze on Harmonia Mundi several years earlier); Gramophone praised her ‘flawless intonation, warm tone, expressive nuances, clear understanding of the proper balance of internal strands’, and the recording marked the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership with the label, which has yielded award-winning discs of Vivaldi’s L’estro armónico and La stravaganza and Biber’s Rosary Sonatas, and concept-albums including Guardian Angel (a BBC Music Magazine Awards winner in 2014) and Grandissima Gravita (nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2018). Several of her Bach recordings have been Building A Library Choices, and in 2015 she became the first woman to receive the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize.
Podger plays a 1739 Genoan violin by Stradivarius’s pupil Pesarinius.
Further Reading: Rachel Podger
The violinist talks to David about her new album, which sees her perform JS Bach's popular cello suites on the violin.
The baroque violinist's own transcriptions of one of the pinnacles of the cello repertoire have an integrity and intelligence that's entirely convincing on its own terms, and the music never stops dancing.