Rachel Podger © Broadway Studios

Fresh from winning the 2023 BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year and Instrumental Award, internationally acclaimed baroque violinist Rachel Podger is today [20 April] announced as Artist in Focus for Kings Place’s 2023/24 season. A leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical, Rachel will perform three concerts as part of her residency exploring well-known masterpieces, rarities and new arrangements of some of JS Bach’s best loved music. In addition to her Kings Place residency, Rachel will also become Principal Guest Director of Tafelmusik for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons.

The first concert of her Kings Place residency in September 2023 will form part of the venue’s annual Master Series, where artists are invited to perform the music they love best in the radiant acoustic of Hall One. Rachel brings her BBC Music Magazine Award winning project Tutta Sola, which features an exciting new arrangement of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue BWV 565 for solo violin by Chad Kelly, as well as music from Johann Joseph Vilsmayr and Johann Paul von Westhoff before culminating in Bach’s dazzling Partita No. 3 in E major.

Rachel returns to Kings Place in December 2023 with her ensemble Brecon Baroque to give the London premiere of The Goldbergs Re-imagined, Chad Kelly’s pioneering new edition of JS Bach’s masterwork for ensemble. The London premiere coincides with the album release of The Goldbergs Re-imagined. Whilst Bach’s Goldberg Variations has been arranged multiple times, no one had attempted to imagine how Bach himself would have transformed the variations for an ensemble in line with The Musical Offering, allowing audiences to hear this music completely anew. Her final concert as part of her residency will open Kings Place’s annual Bach Weekend in March 2024; joined once again by Brecon Baroque and a cast of leading singers, her ‘From Darkness to Light’ concert features music for Eastertide by JS Bach alongside the music of family members Johann Michael and Johann Christian, as well as his admired contemporary Buxtehude. 

Rachel Podger said: “I’ve felt privileged to enjoy many visits to Kings Place’s wonderful acoustic and friendly, engaged audiences over the years. To have the opportunity of showcasing some of my greatest musical loves in London during the ‘23/’24 season is a real delight. Programmes include my beloved solo Bach, favourite cantatas featuring Zoë Brookshaw and Ciara Hendrick, and my ensemble Brecon Baroque who will be celebrating our new album release by giving ‘Goldbergs Re-Imagined’ its London concert premiere. There is a lot to explore and celebrate together – please join us.”

Helen Wallace, Artistic and Executive Director of Kings Place, said: “Rachel Podger has been an electrifying presence on the international Baroque scene for more than two decades, and has lit up Kings Place with indelible performances since it opened. In her hands, the miraculous, near-mystical power of the violin is fully realised. So we are particularly thrilled that she will be Artist in Focus for the 23/24 season.”

Noted by The Times as the “unsurpassed British glory of the baroque violin”, Rachel has established a career as one of the country’s leading violinists – Gramophone magazine noted that “there is probably no more inspirational musician working today”.  She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in October 2015, was Gramophone Artist of the Year 2018, and the Ambassador for REMA’s Early Music Day 2020. A creative programmer, Rachel is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque; in addition to being Artist in Focus at Kings Place in 2023/24, she is also Principal Guest Director for Tafelmusik for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons.