Monica Huggett - violin
Monica Huggett was born in London, in 1953, the fifth of seven children. In order to differentiate herself from her piano-playing siblings, she took up the violin at age six. Her talent became apparent quickly and, by the age of twelve, it had been decided by her parents and teachers that she would become a violinist, which saved her from the agony of having to decide what to do with her life.
At age sixteen, she entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student of Manoug Parikian. Although she did well and won several
prizes, she was not entirely comfortable with her instrument until she was given a Baroque violin to try. She was immediately won over by the mellow quality of the gut strings and became a fervent champion of the Baroque violin. From age seventeen, Monica has earned her living solely as a violinist and artistic director - beginning in London as a freelance violinist - and currently as the newly-appointed first artistic director of the Juilliard School's Historical Performance Program.
In the intervening four decades, she co-founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra with Ton Koopman; founded her own ensemble
Sonnerie; worked with Christopher Hogwood at the Academy of Ancient Music; and with Trevor Pinnock at the English Concert. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world.
Monica's expertise in the musical and social history of the Baroque Era is unparalleled among performing musicians. This huge body of knowledge and understanding, coupled with her unique interpretation of Baroque music, has made her an invaluable resource to students of the Baroque violin.
Her recent prizes include the 1997 ‘Editor's Choice' award from Gramophone, for J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin; the Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize (Finland), 2005; and the ‘Best Instrumental Recording' award at the Gramophone Awards for Heinrich Biber's Violin Sonatas, 2002. Her latest CD release from Sonnerie, Music for a Young Prince, which includes early versions of J.S. Bach's Four Orchestral Suites, won a Diapason d'Or in June 2009.
Alongside her work at Juilliard, Monica continues
as artistic director of both the Irish Baroque Orchestra and the Portland
(Oregon) Baroque Orchestra.
For further information -
American Record Guide
'...an extremely fine program...filled with a wide variety of coloristic explorations and combinations typical of the time'more >>Gramophone
'Monica Huggett has allotted the solo opportunities across her brilliantly varied seven-concerto-strong Concerti Bizarri programme to the existing musicians of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and the subsequent performances are unfailingly superlative.'more >>BBC Music Magazine
Concerto Choice: 'A feast of Baroque viruosity: Monica Huggett directs 'deliciously alert' performances.'more >>MusicWeb International
'All of [the players] deliver wonderful performances. I should probably mention Peter Whelan because his solo part in Graupner's concerto is very virtuosic and he delivers an impressive performance.'more >>MDR Kultur
„Das irische Ensemble agiert mit eminenter Verve, transparent und schlank geführtem Ton. Hohe Beweglichkeit korrespondiert mit "historisch-informierter" Spielweise. Geradlinigkeit und Präzision haben Priorität vor exzentrischer Volte.“more >>NDR
CD of the Week / CD der Woche: „Die Musiker des Irish Baroque Orchestra kosten die Feinheiten der Kompositionen mit Wonne aus.“more >>Early Music Review
'The music is always ear-catching and the captivating performances (and the bright recording) abound with verve and energy...'more >>BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’
'…the curious and rather delightful Triple Concerto from Christoph Graupner…spirited music making in a recording that brings us close to the chamber music, but never stifles the sound.'more >>Irish Times
'luscious colours and deep sonorities'more >>Pizzicato
„Es ist diese Verbindung von Drive und Feinfühligkeit, die dieses brillante Programm so besonders macht.“more >>The Guardian
'Monica Huggett makes the point that 18th-century soloists were often just virtuoso ensemble principals taking their turn front-of-stage. And that's what happens on this fine album from the Irish Baroque Orchestra...the playing is lovely, with great poise from Huggett and standout charismatic bassoon playing from Peter Whelan...'more >>Music for Several Instruments Blog
'This is amazing music...The IBO soloists and players are all superb, providing the best possible advocacy for this unfamiliar music.'more >>Positive Feedback Online
'The realism and dimensionality with this fine Linn release should not be missed.'more >>PSTracks
'If you think you know Baroque music, you're in for a series of pleasant shocks...It's the recording I have played and replayed the most this month.'more >>The Herald
'Why there's an air of genius in the wind'more >>The Observer