Academy of Ancient Music
“The ultimate raspberry to anyone who says baroque music is predictable” The Independent, 2009
“A superb period-instrument band” The New York Times, 2009
Back in 1973, most orchestras played old music in a modern style. Centuries of change had eroded the sound-worlds known to Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart: the instruments were different; the pitch was different; the number of players was different; the very essence and spirit of performances was different.
But change was in the air. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, people asked, if we could turn the clock back; if we could find out more about composers’ original intentions and get closer to the style in which music was originally performed?
This was the spirit in which Christopher Hogwood founded the AAM. It was revolutionary. Centuries of convention were cut away and baroque and classical masterworks were heard anew.
From these beginnings, one of the world’s great orchestras was born. The AAM’s fame spread to every corner of the globe through almost 300 celebrated recordings — Brit- and Grammy-award-winning interpretations of the baroque masterworks; opera releases starring Cecilia Bartoli, Dame Emma Kirkby and Dame Joan Sutherland; pioneering cycles of the Mozart and Beethoven symphonies. It performed live on every continent except Antarctica, inspiring music lovers worldwide with the passion and the power of its music-making.
Richard Egarr succeeded Hogwood in 2006. In his first four years as Music Director his recordings with the orchestra have won the Edison, Gramophone and MIDEM Awards; and he has directed performances across four continents. The orchestra continues to work with a diverse roster of guest directors, ensuring that new approaches continually inspire the group.
The 2010–11 season is built around The Bach Dynasty — a major concert series exploring the music of JS Bach and his composer-relatives. Other highlights in the UK include Mozart’s early opera La Finta Giardiniera, and forthcoming recordings include a disc of music by Christopher Gibbons.
The orchestra’s global reach is as broad as it has ever been. This year’s touring highlights include Haydn and JS Bach at the Shanghai Concert Hall and in Perth, Australia; concerts with Korean soprano Sumi Jo in Beijing and around Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan; and performances at leading European venues including the Concertgebouw and the Théatre des Champs-Elysées.