The Academy of Ancient Music was founded in 1973 by Christopher Hogwood, under whose leadership the orchestra developed the global reputation for inspirational music making which continues today. The AAM performs baroque and classical music on period instruments, taking inspiration from the unique soundworlds which composers would have originally known. Founded on a combination of academic research and superb musicianship, the AAM’s performances have been acclaimed for their vitality and intimacy.
Over the past forty years the AAM has performed live to music lovers on every continent except Antarctica, and millions more have heard the orchestra through its catalogue of over 300 CDs: Brit- and Grammy-Award-winning recordings of Handel operas; the first-ever recording on period instruments of the complete Mozart symphonies; pioneering accounts of the Beethoven piano concertos and Haydn symphonies; and discs which champion neglected composers.
In 2006 Richard Egarr succeeded Christopher Hogwood as Music Director. Egarr has led the orchestra on tours throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East, and in 2007 he founded the Choir of the AAM. Recent recordings include a complete cycle of Handel’s Opp.1-7 instrumental music, released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death, and the world-premiere recording of music by seventeenth-century English composer Christopher Gibbons. In June 2012 the AAM was invited to perform at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant; and in summer 2013 the AAM was Resident Ensemble at London’s National Gallery, accompanying the exhibition ‘Vermeer and Music’ with ongoing performances.
The AAM’s artistic excellence has long been fostered by a range of guest artists. Pianist Robert Levin and singers Dame Emma Kirkby, Dame Joan Sutherland and Cecilia Bartoli were among those performing regularly with the AAM in the early days, and a range of collaborations continue to inspire the group with new ideas and fresh approaches. The current relationship with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge recently produced the world’s first live classical cinecast, with Handel’s Messiah streamed live into hundreds of cinemas across the globe; and ongoing work with the likes of mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager, counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, tenor James Gilchrist and violinist Alina Ibragimova lies at the heart of the AAM’s present-day artistic success.
The future is just as bright. From September 2013 the AAM will mark its 40th anniversary with a season of concerts featuring the full range of the orchestra’s music-making from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (1607) to Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 (1824). International plans include a major tour of Australia as well as performances at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. AAM Records, the orchestra’s own record label, is launched in October 2013, with forthcoming releases including JS Bach’s St John Passion, St Matthew Passion and Orchestral Suites.
The AAM is Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican Centre and Orchestra-in-Residence at the University of Cambridge.
Visit www.aam.co.uk to find out more.