The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is renowned for its ability to produce ‘chamber music on a grand scale’ and in the 2013-14 season the orchestra continues to perform symphonic repertoire with Music Director Joshua Bell, directed from the leader’s chair. Bell continues his cycle of Beethoven symphonies over three periods in 2013-14 including two London concerts, two European tours and an 11 date USA tour. The Academy’s founder and Life President, Sir Neville Marriner, celebrates his 90th birthday in 2014, with concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in April and the church of St Martin-in- the-Fields in May, where the orchestra had its first concert. Principal Guest Conductor and pianist Murray Perahia returns in December 2013 with an 11 date European tour including Cambridge and London concerts.
Now in his third season as Music Director, Joshua Bell and the Academy continue their exploration of Beethoven’s symphonies in the 2013-14 season, as well as Bell performing all of JS Bach’s Violin Concertos directed from the violin. The first concert on 14 October 2013 includes a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No 7 in A Major, alongside Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor and Beethoven’s Septet at Cadogan Hall. This is followed by a European tour with performances in Pamplona, Madrid, Geneva and Zagreb from 15 - 22 October. Each year in January the Academy tours to Germany and in 2014 for the first time with Joshua Bell. The tour culminates in the UK for 5 dates from 18 – 22 January in Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin and ends at Cadogan Hall in London. The programmes include Beethoven’s Symphony No 1 in C minor and Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Bach’s Double Violin Concerto where Bell is joined by Harvey de Souza and Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major.
Principal Guest Conductor and pianist, Murray Perahia, leads the Academy in a European tour in November and December 2013, beginning in West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge on 20 November and closing at the Barbican, London on 11 December. Highlights of this classical and neo-classical programme include Stravinsky’s Piano Concerto in E flat, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 ‘Emperor’ and Haydn’s Symphony No 77 in B flat.
Sir Neville Marriner
In April 2014 Life President and Founder of the Academy, Sir Neville Marriner celebrates his 90th birthday. The Academy hosts a celebration concert on 1 April 2014 at the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Marriner. He is joined by Music Director Joshua Bell and Principal Guest Conductor Murray Perahia. Bell performs Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, followed by a piano concerto by Perahia and Walton’s Suite from Henry V concludes the evening. On 20 May 2014, Marriner and the Academy return to the Church of St Martin-in- the-Fields where they held the ASMF’s first concert in 1953. The concert will showcase the best of Neville Marriner and the Academy with discussion from the stage interspersed with pieces the Academy have long been associated with such as Mozart Symphony No. 25 in G minor.
During 2013 Kings Place celebrates its year-long Bach Unwrapped Festival. The Academy returns for its third and final concert of the series with renowned soprano Carolyn Sampson on 27 September 2013. The series explores programmes which set some of Bach’s most beautiful cantatas alongside concertos composed for violin, solo or doubled, or alongside another instrument. This final concert features Bach’s Cantatas Nos 204, 84 and 199 set alongside the composer’s Violin Concerto in E major.
A key part of the Academy’s annual schedule is its international touring. This season the tours include a 9 date Germany tour in September 2013 with regular guest artist Julia Fischer exploring Haydn, Bach, Mendelssohn and Strauss. Sir Neville Marriner returns to the Enescu Festival for two concerts of Elgar and Mendelssohn on 20 & 21 September. Tenor Toby Spence joins Marriner and the Academy for a performance of Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings Op. 31 in the penultimate concert of Beethovenfest Bonn on 4 October. In March 2014 Music Director Joshua Bell and the Academy undertake a major tour of the USA with dates in Sarasota, Miami, West Palm Beach, Las Vegas, Palm Spring, Northridge, Santa Barbara, Davis, Fort Myers, Charlotte, Chapel Hill and New York’s Lincoln Centre. The three programmes over the tour include Bach Violin Concerto No 2 in E major, Schubert Death and the Maiden arranged for string orchestra, Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, Brahms Violin Concerto in D major and Beethoven Symphony No 1 in C minor.
Elsewhere over the 2013-14 season the Academy Chamber Ensemble tour Canada and the USA in October and November 2013, harpist Xavier de Maistre joins the Academy for a tour to Germany and Austria in January and February 2014 and Sir Neville Marriner celebrates his 90th birthday in Germany in June 2014 with concerts in Hamburg and Hanover.
In 2013-14 Outward Sound, the Academy’s community and learning programme, continues to bring innovative, high quality musical opportunities to children and adults across London, the UK and the world. Create, Cultivate, Orchestrate, the Academy’s creative youth ensemble initiative, produces out-of-school projects for young musicians in Islington and Newham culminating in original and dynamic performances in London venues. The Academy also continues to open up the concert experience to the communities it visits whilst at home and on tour, with open rehearsals, special ticket offers for students and families, and opportunities to talk to the players and guest leaders.
Creating Composers continues this season, forming collaborations between young composers studying music for GCSEs and A-levels and professional musicians who provide support, real experience of writing and the opportunity to hear their piece performed and interpreted by Academy players. Now in its 10th year, the Academy’s Side-by-Side coaching initiative enables young conservatoire graduates at Southbank Sinfonia to learn directly from the Academy what it takes to become a world-class ensemble musician. They will spend a week rehearsing together to produce a remarkable and energetic performance held at St John’s Waterloo on 27 February 2014.