Classical music is in Janine Jansen’s blood. She was born to an extremely musical family. Her mother and father are both professional musicians, and her brother, Peter Kooy, is an accomplished bass singer. She was born on January 7, 1978 in the Netherlands.
Given her musical upbringing, Jansen began violin lessons at the relatively late age of 6. (Many prodigies start as young as 3.) She studied under the likes of Coosje Wijzenbeek, Philipp Hirshhorn, and Boris Belkin, and took class on music theory and performance at the University of Utrecht, one of Europe’s best universities.
Her professional debut came in 1997, when she was 19 years old, performing with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra. Her next major appearance was a year later, at the Spectrum Concerts chamber music series put on by the Berlin Philharmonic. Since then, she’s committed herself to small chamber groups, returning to the Spectrum series each year and establishing her own chamber music festival in Utretcht.
Throughout her short professional career, she’s also performed with the world’s greatest orchestras. Notable performances include her 2002 London debut with guest conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, the standing ovation given to her with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006, and a sold-out show with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
What really sets Jansen apart from other violinists, though, is her success on the charts. First signed in 2003, her 2005 recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons released under Decca Records became a best-seller on iTunes. The album received an Echo Award a year later, as did her two subsequent albums.
In recent years, she’s become known for her renditions of Bach, with two separate albums devoted exclusively to the composer. In 2008, as an informal follow-up to her Four Seasons recording, she released an iTunes-exclusive live recording of Bach’s "Trio Sonata in G Major" and "Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord No. 6 In G Major." However, her repertoire includes French and Russian composers as well. Jansen is also known for her sparse recording style. Instead of recording with a full orchestra, she prefers solo and small-group renditions, often playing with just her father and brother.
Jansen continues to record and tour the world as a preeminent young violin talent. Widely considered one of the best musicians of her era, she’s the recipient of the Dutch Music Prize, a Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award, a Radio 3 New Generation Artist Award, and the Concertgebouw Prize.