Janine Jansen's 1997 debut with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw signaled the rise of a major violin talent. Jansen remained little known outside of the Netherlands until her 2002 London debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy. Thereafter, invitations to appear with the leading European and American orchestras poured in, and in 2003, she was awarded the Dutch Music Prize, the highest artistic award given in the Netherlands. With a formidable technique and immaculate tone, fashioning her interpretations with both imagination and maturity, Jensen is regarded as one of her generation's foremost violinists. Her repertory is broad, taking in works by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Beethoven and modern composers like Robert Helps and Richard Dubugnon. In 2021, Jansen was accompanied by Sir Antonio Pappano on the album 12 Stradivari, featuring Jansen performing on 12 of the legendary luthier's surviving violins.
Jansen was born in Soest, Netherlands, on January 7, 1978. She began lessons on the violin at six and had advanced studies at the University of Utrecht. Her list of teachers includes Philippe Hirschhorn, Coosje Wijzenbeek, and Boris Belkin. Following her 1997 Concertgebouw debut, Jansen slowly began building her career abroad. From 1998, she regularly took part in the Spectrum Concerts Berlin, a chamber music series of the Berlin Philharmonic, and in 2001, she performed the Brahms Violin Concerto, Op. 77, with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. Jansen was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2002 until 2004. While her London debut with Ashkenazy in 2002 ushered in more concert opportunities, it also led to several successful recordings. In 2003, Jansen founded the International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht and has served as its guest artistic director since. In the 2007-2008 season, Jansen made impressive debuts with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, and in October 2009, she debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic in an acclaimed performance of the Britten Violin Concerto, Op. 15. Jansen's continued performances with the Concertgebouw earned her the Johannes Vermeer Prize from the Dutch government in 2018. She has been a violin professor at the Haute École de Musique Vaud Valais Fribourg since 2019.
Naxos issued her first album in 2003, a recording of works by John Harbison, and Decca followed in the two succeeding years with an album of various concert works entitled simply Janine Jansen and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. While the latter recording generated some controversy, it became a digital best-seller and received an Echo award in 2006. Two more Echo awards followed for her Decca recordings of Mendelssohn and Bruch concertos (2007) and Beethoven and Britten concertos (2009). In 2011, Decca issued Jansen's first recital disc, Beau Soir, a collection of French works featuring accompaniment by pianist Itamar Golan. Jansen joined Martin Fröst, Lucas Debargue, and Torleif Thedéen for a 2017 Sony Classical recording of Messiaen's Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps. Jansen was brought to London in 2020 for a project dreamt up by violin dealer J&A Beare's managing director, Steven Smith, to play and record 12 of the surviving violins built by Antonio Stradivari. The logistics of Jansen's travel to London and transporting the near-priceless instruments during the coronavirus pandemic added additional difficulty to the project, but Jansen was able to spend time practicing with each instrument and chose a work that would optimally display the sound of each violin. The resulting album, 12 Stradivari, was released on Decca in 2021, with frequent collaborator Pappano as accompanist. The project was filmed by director Gerry Fox for the documentary Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari.
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