The Academy of Ancient Music is an orchestra with a worldwide reputation for excellence in baroque and classical music. It takes inspiration directly from the music’s composers, using historically informed techniques, period-specific instruments and original sources to bring music to life in committed, vibrant performances.
The ensemble was founded by Christopher Hogwood in 1973 and remains at the forefront of the worldwide early music scene more than four decades on; Richard Egarr became its Music Director in 2006.
The Academy of Ancient Music has always been a pioneer. It was established to make the first British recordings of orchestral works using instruments from the baroque and classical periods and has released more than 300 discs, many of which are still considered definitive performances. (Among its countless accolades for recording are Classic BRIT, Gramophone and Edison awards.) It has now established its own record label, AAM Records, and is proud to be the most listened-to orchestra of its kind online.
AAM’s education and outreach programme, AAMplify, nurtures the next generation of audiences and musicians. With this expanding programme, working from pre-school through tertiary education and beyond, AAM ensures its work reaches the widest possible audience and inspires people of all ages, backgrounds and cultural traditions.
This season AAM collaborates with Michael Collins, VOCES8, Lucie Horsch, Nicolas Altstaedt, Tenebrae, the BBC Singers, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and the Grange Festival. Programmes include large-scale vocal masterpieces such as Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Handel’s Israel in Egypt, as well as concert performances of operas including Dido and Aeneas and The Marriage of Figaro.
The AAM is based in Cambridge and is Orchestra-in-Residence at the city’s university. Its London home is the Barbican Centre, where it is Associate Ensemble, and it is also Orchestra-in- Residence at the Grange Festival, Chiltern Arts Festival, Music at Oxford and the Apex, Bury St Edmunds.
There are three elements that underpin AAM’s work across live performances, recordings and education and outreach projects:
Whilst the Academy of Ancient Music is known for its electrifying performances, a depth of scholarship and intellectual rigour remain at our heart. Our players have deep knowledge of their field well beyond playing their instruments, and they bring this to the preparation of all their performances; and we are active in researching, discovering, and bringing to public attention new and undeservedly neglected works. We want to invest in both new research and in new ways to share this knowledge with the world. The quest to rediscover our past is far from done.
AAM puts great emphasis on crafting concerts that bring new insight to familiar works and to reviving long-lost or forgotten masterpieces. Performing some of the most powerful and personal music ever written, our concerts, recordings and broadcasts must continue to be innovatively presented. Our precious repertoire is innately accessible and inviting. Through research, publications and performance we can reveal the past and how it influences our today, and look to share this with a new and growing audience.
Since the foundation of the Academy, an enormous body of knowledge about this music and performance practice has been built, and we are passionate about adding to this knowledge, and passing it on to the next generation of both players and listeners. We want to work with more young people to introduce them to this wonderful music; with more music students to help them learn how to play it; with our apprentices to ease them into the professional world; and with young soloists as they embark on their careers.