The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s finest chamber orchestras, renowned for fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s greatest orchestral music.
Formed by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church in November 1959. Through unrivalled live performances and a vast recording output – highlights of which include the 1969 best-seller Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Amadeus – the Academy quickly gained an enviable international reputation for its distinctive, polished and refined sound. With over 500 releases in a much-vaunted discography and a comprehensive international touring programme, the name and sound of the Academy is known and loved by classical audiences throughout the world.
Today the Academy is led by Music Director and virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, retaining the collegiate spirit and flexibility of the original small, conductor-less ensemble which has become an Academy hallmark. Under Bell's direction, and with the support of Leader/Director Tomo Keller and Principal Guest Conductor Murray Perahia, the Academy continues to push the boundaries of play-directed performance to new heights, presenting symphonic repertoire and chamber music on a grand scale at prestigious venues around the globe.
Complementing a busy international schedule, the Academy continues to reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds through its Learning and Participation programmes. The orchestra’s composition and performance workshops are now intergenerational with local older people joining with schools; partnerships with Southbank Sinfonia, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music and masterclasses on tour further the development of the professional musicians of tomorrow; the Academy provides a creative outlet for some of London’s most vulnerable adults at a centre for homeless people, a highlight of 2019 being a 12-hour performance of Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet at London’s Tate Modern; and a regular programme of pre-concert talks and podcasts create opportunities for Academy audiences the world over to connect and learn with the orchestra.
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