Meet the Sinfonia – Cello

The Royal Ballet Sinfonia are the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet, and it is their fantastic performance of Tchaikovsky’s fabulous score that delighted attendees of our recent Nutcracker season. With the show now over, Cellist Jane Rainey kindly answered some of our questions…


How old were you when you first started playing?
I started the recorder about aged 6 and the cello aged 8. I was tall for my age and was offered a cello to try rather than a violin.

What did you want to be when you were a child, or did you always want to be a musician?
I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to play the cello professionally. It was my little piece of autonomy and I loved it.

How long have you been in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia?
22 years, I joined in March 1992.

What’s your favourite ballet music?
I love Manon by Massenet, it is tremendously moving and challenging to play. I also love Slaughter on Tenth Avenue which is jazzy and vibrant.

Favourite pop song?
Eva Cassidy’s version of “Over The Rainbow”; hauntingly beautiful and very spiritual.

What instrument would you choose other than your own?
I think the timpani must be very satisfying to play and adds a wonderful depth and timbre to the orchestra. I can’t imagine playing anything other than the cello really.

Favourite pit, and favourite concert hall?
Sunderland’s Empire Theatre is a beautiful traditional old theatre whilst The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has a special ambience and good facilities. I have fond memories of Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.

What’s your favourite touring meal?
Usually somewhere with a voucher, preferably 40% off food! I don’t eat meat so somewhere with a more enlightened vegetarian option!

How do you relax away from music?
My husband Alaster Bentley (oboe) and I have five cats and they are a huge part of our lives. I am also a Reiki Practitioner and believe in a holistic and balanced approach to life, so I meditate every day and practice Yoga. I also have a rather obsessive love of horse racing! In the photo above, you can see me with” Irving” at a visit to champion trainer Paul Nicholl’s yard. My cello is made by Colin Irving and it was a great joy to meet his namesake!