Jane Manning, soprano

Photograph of Jane Manning (© Derek Tamea)
© Derek Tamea

Jane Manning (soprano) was born in Norwich and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and in Switzerland with Frederick Husler. She has more than 45 years’ international experience in an exceptionally wide-ranging repertoire, and is especially celebrated world-wide as an indefatigable interpreter of new music. She has given more than 350 world premières to date, and has worked closely with composers such as Bennett, Birtwistle, Cage, Lutyens, Knussen, and Weir. Operatic roles created by her include that of Max in Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are (Brussels Opera). She gave the world première of John Cage’s Europera III at the Almeida Theatre and toured it throughout Europe. Judith Weir’s one-woman opera King Harald’s Saga, written for her in 1979 has become a miniature classic. She continues to enjoy an active performing career with regular appearances in London and at leading Festivals.

Her catalogue of CDs includes the major song cycles of Messiaen, all Satie’s vocal music, and works by, Berg, Dallapiccola, Ligeti and Schoenberg with conductors such as Boulez and Rattle, as well as many recordings of British music, several with her outstanding ensemble Jane’s Minstrels, formed in 1988. Some of her earlier recordings, of music by Bennett, Maw, Birtwistle and Bedford, have recently been restored to the catalogue.

Her interpretation of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, with which she made her broadcast debut in 1965, is still regarded as definitive, and she has now performed it over a hundred times with more than 20 different ensembles world-wide, including a historic performance with Barenboim, Du Pre, Zukerman and Mehta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, followed by the work’s première in Israel under Mehta. She has made three commercial CDs of it, including the re-discovered 1967 recording with the Vesuvius Ensemble, recently issued by Regis/Forum. Her most recent performance, with Sakari Oramo in Helsinki in 2009, gained a standing ovation. It followed a performance as Der Sterbende in Schoenberg’s Die Jakobsleiter.

She completed a three-year appointment as AHRB Creative Arts Research Fellow at Kingston University, followed by 4 years as Visiting Professor there, during which she undertook a major study of Pierrot from the performance perspective. The resultant comprehensive monograph is due to be published by Southern Voices, in both audio and printed book form. Her other books: New Vocal Repertory (an Introduction), and New Vocal Repertory 2, are published by Oxford University Press. She has also contributed the chapter on “Vocal Performance — 20th century and beyond”, to Cambridge University Press’s forthcoming History of Musical Performance.

She received the OBE in 1990, a Special Award from the Composers Guild of Great Britain in 1973, and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of York (1988), Keele (2004) and Durham (2007). She is a Fellow of both the Royal Academy and the Royal College of Music. She also acts on the Executive Committee of the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

Currently Visiting Professor at Kingston, and at the Royal College of Music, she spent six years as Honorary Professor at Keele University.

Further afield, she has been Visiting Professor four times at Mills College, California, and has given lectures at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Columbia, Princeton and MIT. She has been Artist-in Residence at universities all over Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and given classes for singers and composers in Germany, Holland, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Croatia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong, South Korea and South Africa.

Since 1966 she has been married to the composer, writer and broadcaster Anthony Payne.

Further information can be found on the artist’s webpage: www.classical-artists.com/janemanning