From her earliest years, she was musical, having started studying piano at five. She also played violin and began singing lessons at 12. She is an alumna of Royal Holloway, University of London, having studied French and Latin there in the sixties. During a stay in , she took singing lessons at the conservatory in Grenoble. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, winning the Principal's Prize.
She has earned an international reputation as a concert singer, collaborating with most of the great conductors currently active.