Rest in peace, Jane Manning OBE

One of Britain’s most celebrated and loved sopranos and music mentors, Jane Manning OBE, passed away on 31 March at the age of 83

Jane Manning gave more than 350 world premieres during her 50-year performing career, working many composers and friends, including her husband, Anthony Payne, John Cage, Oliver Knussen and Judith Weir, who wrote the one-woman opera King Harald’s Saga specially for Manning.

She sang Schoenberg with Daniel Barenboim, Jacqueline Du Pre, Zubin Mehta and Pinchas Zuckerman but also loved introducing new talent through her ensemble, Jane’s Minstrels.

Jane Manning taught thousands of vocal students in universities and conservatoires and many more learned from her books, New Vocal Repertory (An Introduction), New Vocal Repertory 2 and two new volumes published last year entitled Vocal Repertoire for the 21st Century, all published by Oxford University Press.

She had a long teaching career at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, working on its Voiceworks series and introducing students to her remarkable repertoire of contemporary vocal music. She would often perform with her students, including the premiere of Schoenberg in Hollywood, composed by Matthew King, and A Party for Ernst Krenek, recollecting a real party she held for the Austrian composer at her home years earlier.

Manning held honorary doctorates at the universities of Durham, Keele, Kingston and York, was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music and lectured in the USA at Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale.

She will be remembered as a wonderful musician, but particularly as a leading light in the world of music education.

Jane Manning OBE (1938-2021)