15 Facts About Janet Baker


Janet Abbott Baker was born in Hatfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where her father was an engineer as well as a chorister.


In 1966, Janet Baker made her debut as Hermia in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and went on to sing Berlioz's Dido, Kate in Britten's Owen Wingrave, Mozart's Vitellia and Idamante, Cressida in William Walton's Troilus and Cressida and the title role in Gluck's Alceste there.


Janet Baker performed in 1971 for the Peabody Mason Concert series in Boston.


Janet Baker has been highly praised for her insightful performances of Brahms's Alto Rhapsody, Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder as well as solo songs from the French, German and English repertoire.


Janet Baker had continued to perform lieder recitals, retiring for good in 1989.


In 1991, Janet Baker was elected Chancellor of the University of York.


Janet Baker held the position until 2004, when she was succeeded by Greg Dyke.


Janet Baker was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1970 and appointed to Dame Commander in 1976.


Janet Baker was appointed a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in 1993.


Janet Baker received the Leonie Sonning Music Prize of Denmark in 1979.


Janet Baker is the recipient of both Honorary Membership and the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society.


Janet Baker has been a vice-president of The Bach Choir since 1983.


Janet Baker was awarded a Fellowship by the Royal Northern College of Music in 1978.


Janet Baker was voted into Gramophone magazine's inaugural Hall of Fame in 2012.


Janet Baker married James Keith Shelley in 1957 in Harrow; he became her manager and accompanied her to engagements.