The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s most acclaimed and actively recording chamber orchestras. It is also one of the most played ensembles heard on All Classical Portland.
Based in London, England, the ensemble was formed in 1958 by Sir Neville Marriner who was recently named to the Order of the Companions of Honour list by Queen Elizabeth II this past June.
The Order recognizes those who have made substantial achievements in the arts, music, science, politics, literature and religion.
Marriner, a violinist and past member of the London Symphony Orchestra, began conducting in 1969 – the same year he became the Music Director of the renowned Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. According to the Academy’s website, no other orchestra and conductor has recorded more together than Marriner and the Academy.
The Academy also has a touring chamber ensemble composed of principal players from each instrument in the orchestra. The ensemble has released more than 30 CDs.
Since 2011, virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell has been the Academy’s Music Director – the only person to hold that position since the orchestra’s inception.
Bell began playing the violin at age 4 and is considered one the era’s most celebrated and talented violinists. He has recorded more than 40 CDs since his first recording on the Decca label when he was 18, according to the Academy’s website.
Bell is also a senior lecturer at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. A fervent supporter of music education, Bell works with Education Through Music to help provide children and teens in inner city areas of America with access to instruments.
Bell, Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields can often be heard on the airwaves of All Classical Portland with their impressively vibrant and varied list of recordings.
The Academy’s most recent recording with Bell is an all Bach CD from 2014 on the Sony Classical label featuring Bach’s first and second violin concertos, chaconne, air, gavotte en rondeau.