The Academy

 

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.

The orchestra celebrated its 60th anniversary in the 2019/20 Season with projects in the UK and beyond, including a Gala concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, tours of the UK and USA with Joshua Bell and collaborations with artists including clarinettist Jörg Widmann and pianist Fazil Say. The 19/20 season came to an abrupt halt in mid-March, and tours to Spain and Europe were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

International tours and concerts planned for the start of the 2020/21 season have been similarly affected by the pandemic but the Academy has responded to the restrictions with the launch of a new 8-concert socially-distanced series entitled re:connect at it’s spiritual home, St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square – all of which are broadcast online. The concerts respond to themes and experiences of the current situation and the programmes feature both core classical repertoire and a host of works by contemporary composers, including Huw Watkins, Samantha Fernando, James MacMillan and Eleanor Alberga. The Academy is joined by a stellar roster of internationally acclaimed soloists, including singers Carolyn Sampson, Roderick Williams, Toby Spence and Simon Wallfisch, pianist Iain Farrington, and conductors Oliver Zeffman and Ryan Wigglesworth.

Find out more about the re:connect series and book tickets to attend in person or online at asmf.org/reconnect

Find out more about supporting the work of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at asmf.org/support