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.
When COVID-19 sparked lockdowns across the globe, the Academy responded by establishing a digital campaign to fund the production of new performance videos as well as launching a new concert series at its spiritual home of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square. The series – the first of its kind in the orchestra’s home city for many years – saw the Academy collaborate with international artists on concert programmes devised by members of the orchestra.
In June 2022 on Sky Arts UK, the Academy presented A London Dream, a celebration of Mendelssohn’s exquisite interpretation of Shakespeare’s well-loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. A London Dream celebrates and champions music and musicians, placing them at the centre of the production, driving the pulse of the narrative, observing, and punctuating key moments with intimate cameos. The film is available on Sky on demand for subscribers, and will be repeated throughout the year. Please visit www.asmf.org/alondondream for the most up to date screening information.
The 2022/23 season will see the Academy continue to frequently appear at London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields, including joining forces with St Martin’s Voices for Christmas and Easter and an Autumn performance of Mozart Requiem and appearances with Johannes Moser and Avi Avital. Internationally, the Autumn/Winter 2022 Season started with a tour of South America and Italy with Joshua Bell, then joining pianist Jan Lisiecki in Helsinki in September. The Academy Chamber String Ensemble returned to the USA for a 10 date Autumn Tour after a performance 4th October at St Martin-in-the-Fields. The Academy concludes a European Tour with Joshua Bell with a performance at Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, 26th January 2023.
Find out more about supporting the work of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at asmf.org/support