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In 1958 the violinist Neville Marriner joined with a group of acclaimed London musicians to found the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, which gave its first concert on 13 November 1959 in the London church of the same name at Trafalgar Square. Initially conceived as an all-string ensemble that performed without a conductor, the formation quickly expanded to include wind players and percussion; and in 1969 Marriner himself moved from the concertmaster’s chair to the conductor’s podium. Nowadays the Academy concertizes in a wide variety of formations, from a chamber ensemble up to the size of a classical symphony orchestra. In its nearly 60-year history, the Academy has made an essential contribution to the rediscovery and appropriate performance of many works of the Baroque and Classical repertoire: more than 500 prize-winning recordings document this achievement. The ensemble earned widespread popularity in 1984 when it recorded the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Amadeus. Sir Neville Marriner was Music Director up to 2011, and until his death on 2 October 2016 he retained his connection to the chamber orchestra as its Life President. For the past five years, the American violinist Joshua Bell has served as the successor to Marriner by leading the Academy, with Murray Perahia in the role of Principal Guest Conductor. In the 2016-17 season, the musicians are concertizing with Joshua Bell in several European countries and in Australia; Murray Perahia is collaborating with them on a complete Beethoven concerto cycle. Performances with Julia Fischer, Kit Armstrong, Yulianna Avdeeva, Renaud Capuçon, Arabella Steinbacher, Martin Fröst, and Cameron Carpenter are also planned. In the area of education, the Academy offers workshops for primary school children and master classes for music students; it additionally presents special programs for the socially disadvantaged and the homeless.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 2 September 1982 in works by Mendelssohn, Elgar, Tchaikovsky, and others.