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AAM BLOG

21 October 2016

Creating a concert - James Gilchrist directs

Creating a concert, choosing just which pieces will fit well together is a real art in itself, for James Gilchrist directs both James and Pavlo Beznosiuk (AAM leader and principal violin) decided they wanted to showcase works of two of the most renowned baroque composers - JS Bach and H Purcell. With such a large amount of repetoire to choose from they had their work cut out to decide just what to include...

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14 June 2016

Q & A with Reinhard Goebel - conductor, The Bach Family

Reinhard Goebel is one of the most highly regarded early music specialists in Europe, and conducts our final London concert of the season on Saturday 18 June 2016, The Bach Family.  In this exclusive interview, Reinhard discusses the importance of the Bach sons, his own approach to music-making and what audiences can expect from the concert.

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8 January 2016

The matchless man

On Friday 15 January 2016, the AAM will perform “The matchless man”, a programme of English music that will take place in Poland’s recently renovated NOSPR Concert Hall.  Directed by Pavlo Beznosiuk, leader of the AAM, the concert will begin with Henry Purcell’s iconic ‘Rondeau’ from Abdelazar, before charting the post-Purcellian world of English music in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Written by James Proctor

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11 May 2015

Introducing: the oud

Later this week we travel to Venice and the Mediterranean for the final instalment in our Grand Tour series. Directed by acclaimed Australian violinist Richard Tognetti and featuring award-winning composer-virtuoso Joseph Tawadros, this fascinating programme will explore connections between traditional Arab music and the music of Venice in the 18th century. Central to these connections is an unlikely and (for many in the West) unknown co-star, the oud.

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The oud: one of the world's oldest instruments.

19 December 2014

A day in the life

In December 2014 AAM Marketing and Communication Assistant John McMunn tagged along with AAM for a day on-tour in Belgium.

In this blog he details the reality of life on the road in a foreign land with 50 musicians.

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De Bijloke, Ghent, Belgium.

17 November 2014

Photos from the road...

Ever wondered what our musicians get up to on tour when they're not performing?

Cellist Jonathan Rees gives us a unique photographic insight into his North American tour with the AAM.

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Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California

24 September 2014

Christopher Hogwood CBE
10 September 1941 — 24 September 2014

In the days and weeks following Christopher Hogwood's death, we have been moved and humbled by the outpouring of public grief and affection expressed in print and digital media, on radio and television, and in personal correspondence honouring the life and work of our founder and former Emeritus Director.

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18 June 2014

Three last symphonies: a player's perspective

Ahead of Three last symphonies, the spectacular finale to AAM's 40th anniversary season, we asked three of our musicians to offer a player's perspective.

09 November 2013

An unusual first, on tour in Australia

We're currently touring Australia with soprano Sara Macliver and our Music Director Richard Egarr, performing music from the golden age of the English baroque.

In Sydney last night, we had an usual first: we used an original harpsichord, the first time this has happened in the city.

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03 October 2013

Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the Barbican

"The chorus shone gloriously in the great madrigals, and Richard Egarr led the band of the AAM in playing of irresistible colour and exuberance."
The Telegraph, Sept 2013

Our performance of L'Orfeo at the Barbican has been receiving some wonderful reviews. Click through below to see pictures from the rehearsals and last Saturday's arresting performance.

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25 September 2013

Monteverdi's L'Orfeo: a synopsis

"I am armed with nought but sweet-toned strings, against which flinty hearts can never prevail."

The tale of Orpheus has been depicted in painting, sculpture, poetry and music for millenia. On Saturday we perform one of the most significant of those retellings: Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, written in Mantua in 1607. The work changed the course of music, beginning the genre that we now call opera.

In this blog we give a brief guide to the plot and characters of Monteverdi's masterpiece.

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Orpheus by Pietro Novelli, 17th century

Image: Orpheus by Pietro Novelli, 17th century

17 September 2013

Reflecting on Vermeer and Music

"Never before have I felt the connections between a painting and music so strongly... I also found myself scrutinising the virginalists’ keyboard technique – 'how could she possibly play Sweelinck divisions standing with the instrument at that height?'"

Harpsichordist Christopher Bucknall looks back on our summer residency at the National Gallery, when AAM musicians accompanied the 'Vermeer and Music' exhibition. The collaboration continues this autumn with a new film exploring Vermeer's life and work, on general cinema release from 10 October.

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Johannes Vermeer A Young Woman seated at a Virginal, about 1670-2 © The National Gallery, London (NG2568)

Image: Johannes Vermeer A Young Woman seated at a Virginal, about 1670-2 © The National Gallery, London (NG2568)

29 August 2013

Music in high definition - BBC Proms 2013

"Working with the BBC Symphony orchestra opened my eyes to working with orchestra, it was like 3D music, music in high definition" Richard Rawson or 'Fazer' (Rapper, songwriter, record producer)

Audience development is crucial to the life of any orchestra, so how do you get in front of new audiences? What is the response when ears from a non-classical background encounter an orchestra for the first time?

The BBC Proms had a very interesting answer to these questions this summer, which produced some fascinating reactions.

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22 August 2013

Happy birthday, Christopher Gibbons!

Christopher Gibbons is 398 today.

For many years his music was neglected, seen as inferior to that of his father Orlando. More significantly for his reputation, he wrote during the tumultuous years of the civil war when the fate of music and art depended on the current political situation.

Last year we released the world-premiere recording of his music and, as our Music Director Richard Egarr puts it, revealed "extraordinary music of great emotional power".

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13 August 2013

AAM at Castle Mareccio

Following our performance at the BBC Proms, we continued our celebrations of the 350th anniversary of Arcangelo Corelli's birth and the 300th anniversary of his death.

Here are some photos from the stunning Castle Mareccio in northern Italy where Pavlo Beznosiuk directed an hour-long programme of music from eighteenth-century Rome, with the works of the great violinist and innovator Corelli at its heart.

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05 August 2013

AAM bassoonist Ursula Leveaux talks to Classic FM

"Music has always been an important part of my life – like a sort of 'golden thread' that weaves through everything else. I was eight when I announced, with great certainty, that I wanted to play the bassoon; I’m still amazed to have been able to earn my living doing it!"

Our principal bassonist Ursula Leveaux speaks to Classic FM about her musical life, her most embarrassing onstage moments and stroppy divas.

 Read the full interview

05 August 2013

Martin Creed installation unveiled at Milton Court

As part of our future Barbican seasons in London, we'll be performing in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama's new Milton Court Concert Hall. An installation by Turner-prize-winning artist Martin Creed has just been unveiled in the foyer.

 Browse more photos

23 July 2013

Proms film and reviews

"Most striking about the Academy of Ancient Music’s playing is its neatness: every phrase is so precisely shaped, so clean. Presumably this is down to impeccable preparation as well as an intrinsic feeling in the group for how Baroque music should sound."

Bachtrack sings the praises of our concert at Cadogan Hall as part of the BBC Proms 2013.

 Read, watch and hear more of the programme

23 July 2013

In pictures: Childerley garden party 2013

On Friday 5 July we headed for the gorgeous grounds of Childerley Hall for the AAM's annual summer garden party. It was a delightful evening with friends, musicians and supporters of all ages.

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18 June 2013

Bojan Čičić in discussion

"As a musician I like to think that what brings audiences to this music is the democratic way in which baroque musical style works: all the parts and voices have an equally important role, passing the ideas and motifs between each other."

Ahead of our tour of the Far East, violinist Bojan Čičić discusses baroque music, the place of historically-informed performance and the future of the AAM.

 Read the full interview

17 June 2013

AAM Bach recording part of The Independent 'Sounds of the summer'

"Sinuous violin and flute solos (Rachel Brown and Pavlo Beznosiuk) and a harpsichord cadenza (Richard Egarr) of such blissfully hyperactive flamboyance that it makes me laugh out loud."

The Independent chooses our recording of JS Bach's fifth Brandenburg Concerto as one of the 'Sounds of the summer'.

 Read more and listen to a preview

14 June 2013

My playlist: Pavlo Beznosiuk, AAM leader

"The burning, heartfelt intensity of the Indian masters has often reduced me to tears, the combination of encyclopaedic knowledge of their craft, intellectual rigour and overpowering sincerity is so moving."

As he prepares to direct the AAM on a tour of China and South Korea, violinist Pavlo Beznosiuk shares his favourite music with us.

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3 June 2013

Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant — one year on

A year ago today, we sailed down the River Thames performing Handel's Water Music. It's as surreal now as it was then.

 Watch films and read a blog about the day

28 May 2013

AAM performs Handel's Imeneo in Madrid

On Sunday we were joined by our founder and Emeritus Director Christopher Hogwood for a performance of Handel's Italian opera Imeneo in the Auditorio Nacional de Música, Madrid, Spain.

 See a photo of the performance and read more about our forthcoming performance at the Barbican

24 May 2013

Steven Isserlis voted into Gramophone Magazine Hall of Fame

Our congratulations to Steven Isserlis, cellist and AAM guest artist, who has been voted into the Gramophone Magazine Hall of Fame.

 Read more and watch Steven in performance

15 May 2013

Happy birthday, Monteverdi!

"As refreshing as skinny-dipping in the Adriatic" — Bojan Čičić, AAM violinist.

Today we celebrate the 446th birthday of Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi.

 Read the full tribute from Bojan

12 May 2013

AAM to feature in BBC documentary with David Starkey

This July, we will feature in a new BBC documentary presented by historian David Starkey exploring the long history between music and monarchy.

 Find out more

10 May 2013

Handel's Imeneo: synopsis and introduction

"Hymeneus was a Youth of Athens, who fell in Love with a noble Damsel, without Hope of ever obtaining her; yet he assiduously pursued her, and often found Means to be with her and other of her Companions, by dressing himself in a female Dress, so that his Fraud could not be suspected..."

Ahead of our performances of Imeneo in Madrid and London, Dr David Vickers describes the plot of Handel's colourful Italian opera

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15 March 2013

Christopher Purves on singing the Passions

“I believe that the solo singers should place themselves alongside the dramatis personae and not detach themselves: they should immerse themselves in the narrative and be at the moment of first utterance exactly what the story and action needs, be it a moment of introspection, or a moment of revelation, or even a call to action. Otherwise does it not totally interrupt the headlong cascade to the inevitable crucifixion of Jesus? I believe that the solo singer should not necessarily be seen or heard to comment from another century, but rather be implicated in the Passion of Christ, as I think Bach invites us to be, as if all of us are in some way responsible for his death."

Bass soloist Christopher Purves discusses his approach to singing the arias in Bach's St John Passion.

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4 March 2013

Bach's original Passion

"Many of Bach's revisions stem from an artistic restlessness... The different versions of the St John Passion usually remain hidden in the appendix of the complete edition, as an object purely of scholarly interest. But by performing these different versions, we can gain rare insights into Bach’s creative process, as well as new perspectives on one of his best-known works."

Dr Stephen Rose introduces the first version of Bach's St John Passion, which we'll record and perform later this month.

 Read the blog