Born: 21 August, 1933 Hatfield, Yorkshire, England
Dame Janet (she was made a DBE in 1976) started her singing studies with Helen Isepp in 1953. Only three years later she won second prize in the Kathleen Ferrier awards and made her debut in the same year, 1956.
Janet Baker quickly established herself as a regular of the Glyndebourne Fsetival and a member of Benjamin Britten's English Opera Group. At the same time, with the help of a series of radio recitals she made her mark as a singer of songs and oratorio. Throughout her career she was able to sing equally effectively on stage, in concerts and in the recording studio.
Her career was international but she became a particular favourite with audiences in the UK and the USA (where she toured every year from 1966 until she retired a few years ago). In opera, oratorio and song Janet Baker brought a deep emotional commitment to her singing. She possessed an extremely warm, flexible voice which did justice both to florid baroque music and dramatic repertoire as well.