Jacqui Miles started her musical education as a junior at the Royal College of Music and the Purcell School, going on to the Royal Academy of Music to study violin, piano and composition. After completing her degree, she joined the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and moved to English National Opera as a first violin in 1996.
When did you join?
In 1996 from the ‘other’ place up the road!
Favourite ENO opera?
Tough question as I have several favourites. Certainly Puccini is up there, with La fanciulla del West in particular. Then there’s Otello and Nixon in China was an incredible piece to play and a fantastic production.
Best ENO moment?
There’s been a few, for all sorts of reasons. Playing The Valkyrie at Glastonbury in 2004 was a once-in-a-lifetime gig and the 1999 New Year’s Eve Concert in the Millennium Dome was pretty amazing, going out on national TV. More recently, I’ve hugely enjoyed being onstage with Emma Thompson in Sweeney Todd and working with Benny and Björn in Chess!
How did you start?
I started playing piano at age of 6 when my mother thought she was going to get a little more house room by getting rid of the piano. Of course it was at this precise moment that I wanted to play. I took up violin age 10 mainly as a second instrument, but it took over, partly because it’s rather more social!
Passion outside of opera?
Hmm … that would be: a) cats b) photography and c) adventures in Arizona. Oh, you meant musically speaking? Chamber music (especially piano trios) has become quite an obsession, having recently found willing playmates!
She has regularly played with most of London’s top symphony orchestras, including the LPO, RPO and Philharmonia, playing concert and opera tours all over the world, recording CDs, DVDs, TV and film soundtracks.
In 2009 she took a two year sabbatical from ENO to go to the US as Teaching Assistant in Violin at Arizona State University where she also gained her Masters degree.
During this period she was Concertmaster of MusicaNova Orchestra and ASU Lyric Opera and played with the Phoenix Symphony.
Jacqui has always been passionate about maintaining teaching and mentoring alongside her performing career and currently runs the Oxford Violin School. She loves working with students from the RCM and is looking forward to the exciting operas coming up this season.
Last updated: 9th October 2019