Hailing from inner-city Cardiff, Dr Jennie Joy Porton attended the Royal College of Music a ‘year early’ aged 17, on the rarely awarded Joint Principal Study pathway, on clarinet and saxophone. She also took a semester of study on clarinet at the Universitat Mozarteum, Salzburg with Alois Brandhofer, and received intensive saxophone training in New York from Dr Paul Cohen (of Manhattan School of Music).
With support from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, EMI Sound Foundation, Elizabeth Evans Trust and Arts Council of Wales, Jennie completed a MMus at RWCMD, also on Joint Principal Study clarinet and saxophone pathway, earning the award for the highest postgraduate recital mark.
Jennie has a PhD from Royal Holloway University, undertaken with scholarship, which explores alumni perspectives of conservatoire practices across three decades of attendance. Issues discussed include class, power and identity, via a focus on the themes of notions of ‘talent’, curriculum, and health and wellbeing. In 2021-22, she was employed as Research Consultant for CUK (Conservatoires UK) for a study centered on widening access and participation at the junior level.
As an educator, Jennie teaches saxophone and clarinet/saxophone doubling at RWCMD, as well as lecturing on postgraduate module ‘The Artist in Society’, in addition to supervising and mentoring students on academic research projects. She has also worked in a teaching and coaching capacity at the New York Summer Music Festival.
As a freelance performer, Jennie enjoys a varied career. Recent highlights include Matthew Bourne’s world premiere production of Romeo and Juliet, with a residency in Sadler’s Wells, live performance screening in cinemas across the UK and UK tour. She was also 1st Clarinet (job share) for their production of Nutcracker! in London. Jennie has a longstanding freelance relationship with BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Welsh National Opera, frequently working with them for concerts, televised productions, UK and worldwide tours, performing on clarinet and saxophones.
In musical theatre, Jennie was chair holder on Miss Saigon (Cameron Mackintosh Productions, UK & Ireland tour) and The Show Must Go On (Dominion Theatre, London) and has deputized on a host of shows in the West End and across the UK including Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Cats, Half a Sixpence, Billy Elliot. Jennie also performed on the UK leg of Idina Menzel’s world tour at venues including Wembley Arena. Other highlights include commercial performances with the Bourne Orchestra (in London and Europe) and NYC disco group Escort (on European tour legs).
Links to relevant research/projects
Porton, J.J. (2023) ‘Social Inclusion in Contemporary British Conservatoires: Alumni Perspectives’ in Bull, A., Scharff, C. and Nooshin, L. (eds.) Voices for Change in the Classical Music Profession. Oxford: Oxford University Press