Academy of Ancient Music
Recently hailed as Ťone of the world's great orchestrasť by China Daily following its debut performance in Beijing, the Academy of Ancient Music is a household name renowned worldwide for its energized, passionate performances of baroque and classical music. Since it was founded by Christopher Hogwood in 1973 the AAM has reached music lovers worldwide with over 250 recordings and live performances on every continent except Antarctica.
The AAM specialises in performing on instruments and in styles dating from the time when the music was composed. Under Hogwood's leadership it established itself as a leading authority on how music was originally performed. This pioneering work had a transformative impact on the world of classical music, and lies at the heart of the AAM's reputation for musical excellence.
In 2006, Hogwood passed leadership of the AAM on to Richard Egarr. In his first three years as Music Director, Egarr has led tours to four continents, released CDs which have already won Gramophone, MIDEM and Edison awards, and founded the award-winning Choir of the AAM.
Concerts with Egarr in 2009-10 see the orchestra performing music from Castello and Monteverdi to Finzi and Britten around the world. Highlights include a tour of music by anniversary composers Purcell and Haydn to Africa and the Far East, a Christmas tour of Handel's Messiah around Europe, and a fascinating programme showcasing the music of Monteverdi's little-known contemporary Dario Castello.
The vitality of the AAM's music making continues to be fostered by a range of guest directors. This season the orchestra works with Pavlo Beznosiuk, who directs a programme contrasting the Pergolesi and Vivaldi settings of the Stabat Mater; violinist Giuliano Carmignola, who directs early masterpieces by Mendelssohn and Schubert; Stephen Cleobury, who conducts a major European tour of Monteverdi's Vespers will the choir of King's College, Cambridge; Paul Goodwin, who conducts Haydn symphonies at Esterhaza Palace, the historic seat of the composer's patrons; and Stephen Layton, who conducts the AAM's traditional Good Friday performance of JS Bach's St John Passion with Polyphony.
The AAM's pioneering recordings under Hogwood for Decca's L'Oiseau-Lyre label cover much of the baroque and classical orchestral canon. They include the first recordings on period instruments of Mozart's complete symphonies and Beethoven's piano concertos, and prize-winning opera recordings starring Cecilia Bartoli, Emma Kirkby and Joan Sutherland. Further projects have resulted in recordings for EMI, Chandos, Erato and Harmonia Mundi, and the orchestra has released award-winning recordings with the choirs of King's College, Cambridge, Trinity College, Cambridge and New College, Oxford.
With Richard Egarr, the orchestra has recently completed a landmark new cycle of Handel's complete instrumental music published as Op.1-7. Other recent releases include JS Bach's complete Brandenburg Concertos with Egarr, Purcell and Handel discs with Stephen Layton and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge on Hyperion, and, for EMI, Handel's Messiah with Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King's College, Cambridge.
The AAM is Orchestra-in-Residence at the University of Cambridge.
06 November 2009