Monica Huggett, Artistic Director

Monica BioMonica Huggett was born in London, in 1953, the fifth of seven children. She took up the violin at age six and at age sixteen entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student of Manoug Parikian.

From age seventeen, Monica has earned her living solely as a violinist and artistic director—beginning in London as a freelance violinist—and was appointed inaugural artistic director of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program. In addition to her position of artistic director for Portland Baroque Orchestra, she is also the artistic director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra.  In the intervening four decades, she co-founded, with Ton Koopman, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra; founded her own London-based ensemble Sonnerie; worked with Christopher Hogwood at the Academy of Ancient Music; with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert; toured the United States in concert with James Galway; and in 2004, co-founded the Montana Baroque Festival.

She is a frequent guest director around the world, including engagements with Arion Baroque Orchestra (Montréal), Tafelmusik (Toronto), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque (San Francisco), Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Seville Baroque Orchestra, and Concerto Copenhagen; as well as frequent appearances as guest concerto soloist. She regularly directs performances in New York of Juilliard415, the student baroque orchestra of the Historical Performance Program, as well as playing with Juilliard Baroque, the faculty ensemble of the program. Monica’s expertise in the musical and social history of the Baroque Era is unparalleled among performing musicians. This huge body of knowledge and understanding, coupled with her unforced and expressive musicality, has made her an invaluable resource to students of baroque violin and period performance practice through the 19th Century.

Monica’s recordings have won numerous prizes, and most recently, her CD “Flights of Fantasy” with Irish Baroque Orchestra, was named by Alex Ross in the New Yorker as Classical Recording of the Year for 2010. Her recording of J.S. Bach’s “Orchestra Suites for a Young Prince” with Gonzalo X. Ruiz (PBO principal oboist) and Ensemble Sonnerie was nominated for a Grammy™ Award and won the Diapason D’or in 2009. In March 2011, Monica Huggett and PBO recorded Bach’s St. John Passion for the Avie Label (UK), the Orchestra’s first complete studio recording of a major Baroque work.