This season sees the return of violinist Janine Jansen, who will be performing with the LSO as part of our Artist Portrait Series over February, March and April. We find our more about her career, her history with the LSO and her thoughts on pieces she will be performing.
Early life and career
Janine was born in the Netherlands, and first picked up a violin at the age of six. She comes from an entire family of musicians; her father was an organist, her mother is a classical singer, her brother a cellist, her uncle the bass Peter Kooy, and her husband is Swedish conductor Daniel Blendulf. Of her childhood, she recalls, 'all my first memories are musical – I remember nothing else. My grandfather conducted a church choir, my father was his organist and they used to give concerts every Saturday afternoon, so I was in church a great deal of the time. I was singing in the choir before I could read, standing next to my mum.'
Janine has had an extremely enviable career, having had opportunities to work with the world’s greatest orchestras (including the New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Berliner Philharmoniker) and conductors (Valery Gergiev, Sir Mark Elder, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Harding and Sir Antonio Pappano). She gained international acclaim after a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto when she opened the 2005 BBC Proms. She was the Featured Artist at the 2014 BBC Proms, culminating in an appearance at the Last Night of the Proms.
Janine made her LSO debut in 2006, under conductor Roland Boer with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra. She has been a regular soloist ever since, performing on the Barbican stage, touring and recording with the orchestra, and appearing in the BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert series at LSO St Luke's. Most recently, she appeared as part of the LSO's International Violin Festival in June 2015, performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and performed Shostakovich Violin Concerto No 2 under LSO Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda in February 2016.
'I love playing with the LSO,' she says. 'There’s so much there, so much focus and energy. It has been quite a few years since I started working with them and every time is such a joy and very much an inspiration. It is wonderful when that happens; when you really make music together.'
Watch: Janine Jansen performs the Symanowski Violin Concerto with the LSO and Valery Gergiev, October 2012
LSO Artist Portrait
The LSO Artist Portrait is a small series of concerts focusing on one specific soloist, giving audiences a chance to experience all sides of the soloist’s artistry. This particular series with Janine Jansen involves three concerts with the Orchestra, alongside a complementary series of chamber recitals at Wigmore Hall.
Janine will take on three very different interpretations of the violin concerto – Bernstein's Serenade with Sir Antonio Pappano (5 Feb), Brahms' Violin Concerto with Valery Gergiev (12 Mar) and Berg's Violin Concerto with Gianandrea Noseda (6 Apr), taking us from the peak of 19th-century Romanticism to the experimental Second Viennese School and beyond.
On the Brahms Violin Concerto
'Time stands still. It’s an amazing moment. You don’t want to breathe!'
The Brahms Violin Concerto forms the centrepiece of the series. Jansen first performed the work at aged 16, with her father conducting. 'It remains a challenge', she says. 'It’s a fantastic piece, a very symphonic piece. I’ve been playing it for 20 years – maybe that feels like a long time, but on the other hand, its actually nothing in a whole lifetime, and it’s a piece that needs to be with you for many, many years.' She has noted her favourite part of the piece being after the cadenza. 'It ends with this trill on the violin, going into the theme… time stands still. It’s an amazing moment. You don’t want to breathe!'
Janine Jansen performs with the London Symphony Orchestra as part of a Artist Portrait series, starting on Sunday 5 February at the Barbican.
Janine Jansen's LSO Artist Portrait series is interspersed with a series of chamber recitals at Wigmore Hall.