The Academy of Ancient Music was founded in 1973 by Christopher Hogwood, under whose leadership the orchestra developed a global reputation for inspirational music-making which continues today. The AAM performs baroque and classical music on period instruments, taking inspiration from the distinctive sound-worlds composers of those ages might have known. Founded on a combination of academic research and superb musicianship, the AAM’s performances have been acclaimed for their vitality and intimacy.
Over the past forty years the AAM has performed live to music lovers on six continents, and millions more have heard the orchestra through its catalogue of over 300 CDs: Brit- and Grammy-Award-winning recordings of Handel operas; the first-ever recording on period instruments of the complete Mozart symphonies; pioneering accounts of the Beethoven piano concertos and Haydn symphonies; and discs which champion neglected composers.
In 2006, Richard Egarr succeeded Christopher Hogwood as Music Director. Egarr has led the orchestra on tours throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East, and in 2007 he founded the Choir of the AAM. Recent recordings include a complete cycle of Handel’s Opp.1-7 instrumental music, released to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death, and the world-premiere recording of music by seventeenth-century English composer Christopher Gibbons. In June 2012 the AAM was invited to perform at the Queen’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant; and in summer 2013 the AAM was Resident Ensemble at London’s National Gallery, accompanying the exhibition “Vermeer and Music”.
The AAM’s artistic excellence has long been fostered by a range of guest artists. Pianist Robert Levin and singers Dame Emma Kirkby, Dame Joan Sutherland and Cecilia Bartoli were among those performing regularly with the AAM in the early days, and a range of collaborations continue to inspire the group with new ideas and fresh approaches. In 2009, AAM’s long-standing relationship with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge produced the world’s first live classical cinecast, with Handel’s Messiah streamed live into hundreds of cinemas across the globe. Ongoing work with the likes of mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, tenor James Gilchrist and violinist Alina Ibragimova lies at the heart of AAM’s present-day artistic success.
From September 2013 to August 2014 the AAM marked its 40th anniversary with a celebratory season of concerts spanning the full breadth of the orchestra’s repertoire, from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (1607) to Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 (1824). Additionally, AAM Records, the orchestra’s own record label, was launched in October 2013, with releases to date including Birth of the symphony: Handel to Haydn, JS Bach’s St John Passion and AAM at 40, a limited edition two-disc compilation of the very best of AAM’s 40 years of recording. Forthcoming releases include JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Orchestral Suites.
In the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, AAM continues its commitment to reaching the widest possible audience with series in London and Cambridge, extensive UK touring, and foreign appearances inBelgium, Canada, the United States, Germany, Spain, Russia and the Netherlands.
The AAM is Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican Centre and Orchestra-in-Residence
at the University of Cambridge.