Founded by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 and now led by Music Director Joshua Bell, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is one of Britain's leading chamber orchestras.
The Academy, along with Bell, were Classic FM's first ever Artist in Residence and this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of its first ever performance.
Sir Neville Marriner founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with leading London musicians in 1958, directing it from the violin. At the time he ‘had no intention of giving any concerts or continuing forever’.
However, demand for the Academy grew following its first concert at the Church of St Martin in the Fields and its debut recording two years later. The Orchestra’s size and repertoire also grew, and Sir Neville decided to put down his violin and take up the baton.
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 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 celebrates its 60th anniversary in the 2019/20 season with exciting projects in the UK and beyond, including a Gala concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on 12 November, tours of the UK and USA with Joshua Bell, a European tour with Murray Perahia and collaborations with artists including clarinettist Jörg Widmann and pianist Fazil Say
Did you know?
The ensemble's name comes from Trafalgar Square's St Martin in the Fields church, where the orchestra gave its first concert on November 13, 1959.