The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, renowned for fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s most-loved classical 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 1985’s Oscar-winning film Amadeus – the Academy quickly gained an enviable international reputation for its distinctive, polished and refined sound.
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, whilst pushing the boundaries of play-directed performance to new heights. Each year the Academy collaborates with some of the world’s most talented soloists and directors, performing symphonic repertoire and chamber music on a grand scale at prestigious venues from New York to Beijing. These partnerships extend to the recording studio, where regular additions to the orchestra’s celebrated back-catalogue of over 500 recordings make the Academy one of the most recorded chamber orchestras in the world.
Highlights of the Academy’s 2016/17 season included a month-long tour of the United States and Canada with Inon Barnatan, European and Australian tours with Joshua Bell, several short tours with Sir Neville Marriner, and a complete cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with Murray Perahia in London. Additional touring engagements include performances with Julia Fischer, Kit Armstrong, Yulianna Avdeeva, Renaud Capucon, Arabella Steinbacher, Martin Fröst, and Cameron Carpenter.
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 Academy’s flagship project for young people provides performance workshops for primary and secondary school children; 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 and homeless adults at the West London Day Centre; and a regular programme of pre-concert talks and podcasts create opportunities for music-lovers the world over to connect and learn with the orchestra.