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 established a digital campaign to fund the production of new performance videos. Films of Elgar and Shostakovich are out now, and future filming plans include recording with Music Director Joshua Bell. In addition, the orchestra launched 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 internationally renowned artists on concert programmes devised by members of the orchestra. A second series ran from March-August 2021. Following an appearance at the 2021 BBC Proms with Joshua Bell, plans for the 2021/22 season include European and US tours with Music Director, Joshua Bell, the release of a new series of performance films by leading contemporary composers and concert tours in Europe with acclaimed soloists Julia Fischer, Lucas and Arthur Jussen with conductor Ben Glassberg, Pablo Ferrandez and Jan Lisiecki.
Find out more about supporting the work of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at asmf.org/support