Jane's Minstrels is a virtuoso British new music ensemble set up in 1988 by the English soprano Jane Manning and her husband, the composer Anthony Payne. Amongst its founder members were the horn player and conductor, Roger Montgomery, the pianist Dominic Saunders, the clarinetist Dov Goldberg, the percussionist Richard Benjafield, the violinist Fenella Barton and the pianist/composer Matthew King.
Jane's Minstrels have established an international reputation as performers of a broad repertoire: the group has performed fantasias by Purcell, chamber works by Elgar, Frank Bridge and Percy Grainger as well as Schoenberg and Webern. Since the ensemble's beginning, Manning has championed Pierrot Lunaire and a number of twentieth century works influenced by it, ranging from Walton's Facade to Miss Donnithorne's Maggot by Peter Maxwell Davies.
The critic, Ivan Hewett, has written of the group:
Twenty-one years ago Manning founded her own chamber ensemble of bright young players just out of college. The players are all seasoned pros now, but when she appears among them Jane Manning still has that air of a flamboyant, slightly eccentric but formidable grand dame who’s very pleased with her proteges.
Jane's Minstrels have given first performances and made recordings of numerous composers including Elizabeth Lutyens, Anthony Payne, Judith Weir, Matthew King, Brian Elias, James MacMillan and Colin Matthews.