Jane Rogers is one of the UK’s leading exponents in baroque and classical viola. At the age of sixteen she was awarded a music scholarship to St Edward’s College Liverpool and went on to study viola at the Royal Academy of Music in London. During this time she gained a place in the European Union Baroque Orchestra and then began freelancing in the field of early music.
She was co-principal viola in The English Concert for ten years and played principal viola with the English Baroque Soloists, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and The King’s Consort. Jane is currently principal viola with the Academy of Ancient Music, La Nuova Musica and Brecon Baroque. She also plays frequently with Arcangelo, Classical Opera, Dunedin Consort, Florilegium and La Serenissima. A keen chamber musician, Jane was also a member of the Amsterdam String Quartet, Terzetto and the Eroica String Quartet during which time she worked closely with Professor Clive Brown.
Jane’s recording career has been prolific and she has featured on over 200 CD recordings for Erato, Channel Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Hyperion and Chandos as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Jane enjoys and devotes a great deal of time to teaching and coaching chamber music. She holds a post of professor of historical viola and viola d’amore at the Royal Academy of music, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has taught masterclasses all over the world.
“I first became aware of the viola whilst listening to a string quartet recital on the radio, and immediately fell in love with its warm and generous sound. I was five years old and had no idea of the name of this mysterious instrument in the middle, but knew that it wasn’t a violin or ‘cello. My parents did some research and I was offered violin lessons, being then too small to play the viola. I’m proud to say that I refused point blank!
Eventually, aged 12, my dream came true and I started viola lessons, quickly becoming the only violist in our youth orchestra. It was me against twenty eight violins and the conductor was continually nagging me to play louder to make up for the lack of section behind me — to those who know my playing well, all I can say is that this explains it all.
I think that, as with other instruments whose role is mainly to accompany, our job as violists is to focus on beauty of tone in order to encourage those around us to shine more brightly. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be in the middle of the texture. Being a violist himself, Bach really understood this — I feel a special connection with his Sinfonia in next week’s programme. As with all his cantatas I find it incredibly spiritually uplifting.”
– Jane speaking ahead of performances of early symphonies and sinfonias in September 2012