On Air Now
The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet 8pm - 10pm
The late Christopher Hogwood created the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973 with the aim of energising Baroque and Classical music. We take a look back through the ensemble's history.
With the death of the conductor Christopher Hogwood on 24 September 2014, a unique era of British music-making has come to an end. He founded the Early Music Consort with David Munrow in 1967, followed by the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) in 1973, pioneering the performances of Baroque and early Classical music on period instruments.
Hogwood based his Academy of Ancient Music on an 18th century group. They met at a church in Richmond to record Thomas Arne’s Eight Overtures for Decca’s L’Oiseau Lyre label.
Dr Pepusch was a prominent figure in the ‘original’ Academy of Ancient Music, which met for the first time in 1726. 'Ancient' was originally defined as before 1600, but newer composers - including Handel - were included before long. This AAM met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern on The Strand in London, and its last series of subscription concerts came in 1797.
Hogwood's ensemble played instruments different from more modern violins. They're played at a slightly lower pitch and use gut strings rather than steel strings. Here they are performing at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire in 1979.
Throughout the 1980s, Hogwood and the AAM recorded prolifically, including complete cycles of the Beethoven and Mozart symphonies, Handel operas and a recording of 'Messiah'.
In 1985, violinist Jaap Schroder and Christopher Hogwood celebrated the completion of their Mozart symphony cycle, the first on period instruments. It was proclaimed by Stanley Sadie, editor of the prestigious Grove Dictionary of Music, as “the most important recording venture of the decade.”
Giving us a glimpse into the rock and roll lifestyle of a touring orchestral musician, Christopher Hogwood and the AAM's double bassist are pictured on tour in Italy in 1985.
In 1989, the AAM took a trip back to the home of Haydn, on a musical pilgrimage of sorts. The orchestra are pictured outside Esterhaza Palace, Hungary, the summer residence of Haydn’s patron.
The AAM took their unique period instrument sound around the world on tour, here performing in 1993 in Hagia Eirene in Istanbul.
In 1999, Hogwood and the AAM made their first recording with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, marking the beginning of a series of recordings and concerts together. In 2009 the AAM and King’s Choir made the first ever live global choral cinecast, with Handel’s 'Messiah' streamed live into cinemas worldwide.
In 2006, Richard Egarr was appointed successor to Christopher Hogwood as Music Director. Hogwood assumed the title of its Emeritus Director.
Where better to perform Handel's Water Music than on the water? Here the AAM are, playing to a flag-waving crowd as part of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012.
Marking 40 years since their humble beginnings, the AAM became Associate Ensemble at London's Barbican in 2013. Since 1973, they've recorded more than 300 CDs, featuring masterworks from Purcell to Mozart and from Bach to Beethoven.