An Interview with Violinist Rachel Podger – From Esotericism to Bach

Rachel Podger, the first female musician to win The Bach Prize, enriches herself in the replication of Bach’s solo violin music through playing and performance. Podger preforms amongst renowned Baroque ensembles, as well as solo performances in festivals. The complexity in Bach’s counterpoint versus clarity drives Podger to indulge Bach’s compositions of the Baroque era.

Key Takeaways:

  • Podger loves to perform, to take Bach for a ride. In the early 1990’s, she co-founded The Palladian Ensemble, devoted to baroque chamber music. She was also a member of Florilegium, an early music ensemble based in London.
  • Podger told me that with every concert “you go on a journey, a known journey, but with every audience it takes you along different turns and there are different views too–an audience makes a big difference to which route a performer might take, especially if you’re the only one up there playing!
  • Says Podger, “the complexity in Bach’s counterpoint versus clarity in his single-line polyphonic writing–huge technical challenges with enormous musical rewards–makes Bach’s solo violin music totally enriching to play and perform.”

“Last year, Podger became the first female musician to win The Bach Prize, awarded by the Royal Academy of Music & the Kohn Foundation.”

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