Monica Huggett was born in London the fifth of seven children in a family of Irish, English and French background. During her childhood and adolescence she and her siblings listened to a great variety of music; jazz, pop, rock, and classical and consider these diverse influences contributing to her musical personality. Huggett has an international reputation as one of the foremost baroque violinists of our time. During her studies of modern violin at the Royal Academy of Music she was introduced to the baroque violin and immediately felt a complete empathy with the instrument. She has been one of its most fervent champions ever since.
Monica has a busy international career as soloist, director and chamber musician. She has recorded for EMI, Decca, Teldec, Erato, Phillips and many other labels. In 2002 she was awarded the prestigious Gramophone Early Music Award for her CD of Biber Sonatas with her ensemble, Sonnerie.
She has worked with many of the great directors in the baroque world and particularly values her work with Ton Koopman as concertmistress of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra from 1980-87.
In recent years directing has taken a larger proportion of her time, with regular guest appearances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the European Union Baroque Orchestra. She enjoys the challenges that come with her job as Artistic Director of The Portland Baroque Orchestra in Oregon, USA.
Huggett keeps a hectic pace. In 2005, aside from her two-month concert schedule in Portland, OR in March and April, she guest-directed in Dublin with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, performed in both England and Scotland with her chamber ensemble, Sonnerie and the English String Orchestra, appeared with the Collegium Pro Musica in Genoa, Italy; followed by solo performances and master classes at the Bach Festival in Berea, Ohio. She was in Spain twice to lead the Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla at the Festival International de Music y Danza de Granda in a special series of concerts celebrating Don Quixote. Among her other engagements were the Cheltenham Festival in England, appearances in Slovenia and concerts at the Montana Baroque Festival. In August Huggett received the 2005 Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize in Helsinki, Finland for her work in spreading knowledge and awareness of early music.
Monica was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1994. In 2008, she was named as artistic director of the Juilliard Music School’s historical performance department. Her recording with Ensemble Sonnerie of the early versions of J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suites was recently nominated for a Grammy.