- Four special concerts mark the centenary of the birth of Sir Neville Marriner, featuring new music by Errollyn Wallen and Vince Mendoza as well as performances by ASMF Music Director Joshua Bell, conductor and former ASMF flautist Jaime Martin and jazz drummer Douglas Marriner
- An exhibition commemorating and celebrating Sir Neville’s life and career opens in the St Martin-in-the-Fields crypt
Academy of St Martin in the Fields (ASMF) will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Sir Neville Marriner (15 April 1924 – 2 October 2016) by welcoming friends and supporters from around the world to enjoy a programme of special concerts and events in its 2023/24 Season, dedicated to his life and legacy.
The anniversary celebrations follow the orchestra’s 23/24 season tours to Australia, Europe and North America with renowned soloists including ASMF Music Director Joshua Bell, Beatrice Rana, and Julia Fischer.
Throughout the 23/24 season, ASMF continue its work to channel Marriner’s spirit through presenting bold and energetic interpretations of orchestral works both known and new, from a chamber ensemble of six musicians to a full-scale unconducted chamber orchestra of sixty players, and everything in between.
In reflecting on the life and legacy of its founder, and the spirit of its founding, this anniversary celebration will demonstrate the profound impact of music-making which is player-led (often without a conductor) and which puts the creative empowerment of ASMF’s musicians and the communication and collaboration found in their performance right at the centre of the orchestra’s vision.
BBC Radio 3 will also be marking the life and legacy of Sir Neville Marriner with a day of special programming on 15 April 2024.
The season is inspired by Sir Neville’s entrepreneurial founding of ASMF in 1958, and the many ways in which his musical achievements continue to influence the orchestra today and into its future. Four special concerts, each at a significant venue in Marriner’s musical life, celebrate his life and legacy.
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Monday 15 April 2024
Music Director Joshua Bell, director Tomo Keller and conductor Jaime Martin join ASMF for a concert in the ensemble’s spiritual home to mark Neville’s birthday with a celebratory programme reflecting the orchestra’s illustrious history.
The performance includes the world premiere of a new work by Errollyn Wallen, specially commissioned for the occasion, which takes inspiration from the full-bodied sound of ASMF and the way they play her Concerto Grosso so brilliantly. Also included in the programme is Handel’s Concerto Grosso, a work that featured at the orchestra’s first BBC Prom; Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 directed by Joshua Bell; and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, a favourite of Neville’s – full of radiance and mystery. The concert will finish on a jubilant note, with a chorus featuring former members of the Academy Chorus with singers from St Martin’s Voices performing a suite from Haydn’s Creation, conducted by Jaime Martin.
Wigmore Hall, Tuesday 16 April 2024
In an intimate concert celebrating Neville’s favourite music, Joshua Bell and ASMF Chamber Ensemble reunite for a special performance featuring Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-Flat Major, Op.20, led by Joshua Bell, and Schoenberg’s beloved Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op.4.
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Thursday 18 April 2024
In a programme mixing the contemporary and the classics, ASMF return to the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for a special gala concert celebrating the orchestra which Neville founded and loved.
The concert features excerpts from the soundtrack to Academy Award winning film Amadeus, which celebrates 40 years since its release in September 2024. Curated by Neville and recorded by ASMF, it is now considered one of the most iconic original soundtracks recorded.
Celebrating the orchestra’s past, present and future is a European premiere from Grammy Award-winning composer Vince Mendoza, written for orchestra, violin and jazz drum kit. Performed by ASMF, Joshua Bell and Douglas Marriner, Neville’s grandson, the work deftly combines contemporary and classical elements. Also on the programme is Brahms’ joyful Symphony No. 2 directed by Joshua Bell from the first violin chair, and Saint-Saens’s fiendish Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso with Bell as soloist
Lincoln Cathedral, Wednesday 24 April 2024
ASMF travel to Lincoln, Neville Marriner’s birthplace, for a special concert in the stunning surroundings of Lincoln Cathedral. In celebrating his life and legacy, the programme looks to Marriner’s beloved works including Handel’s Concerto Grosso in B flat, Op. 3, No.2, Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.
Sir Neville Marriner with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in rehearsal. Photocredit Mike Evans.
Marriner 100 Exhibition
St Martin-in-the-Fields Crypt, Monday 15 April – Sunday 12 May 2024
To commemorate and celebrate Sir Neville’s career and the continuing association of ASMF with the venue from which it takes its name, a major exhibition will open in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields on Sir Neville’s birthday (Monday 15 April).
This will feature record sleeves and boxes, photographs, awards, tributes from friends and colleagues, and memorabilia from a life of great achievement and personal enjoyment.
In addition to Marriner 100 celebrations, ASMF will also mark 25 years of working with people who are homeless. To recognise this moment, ASMF will create a digital Sound Walk, written and recorded by ASMF musicians with people at The Connection at St. Martin’s.
The piece will be installed around St Martin-in-the-Fields and Trafalgar Square, the epicentre of the homelessness problem in the UK, and available to listen to throughout the week (15 – 22 April).
Led artistically by long-term collaborator, composer and workshop leader Jackie Walduck and writer Hazel Gould, those who listen will be invited to imagine what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone who is homeless by listening to music and words by people with experience.
In celebrating Sir Neville’s legacy and vision for the orchestra and beyond, ASMF has brought together a committee of musical minds and voices from across the sector to help ensure that the celebrations have the greatest possible positive impact.
The Marriner Centenary Committee includes:
- Lady Marriner (President)
- Simon Haslam, former Chair of ASMF
- Joshua Bell, ASMF Music Director
- Alfred Brendel, Pianist and friend of Sir Neville
- Sally Beamish, former member and composer-in-residence of ASMF
- Dr Carol Colburn Grigor CBE, pianist, philanthropist and trustee of Dunard Fund
- Peter Dart, former Trustee of ASMF, Chair of the Royal Choral Society
- Sam Jackson, Controller of BBC Radio 3
- Anne-Marie Minhall, broadcaster, journalist and presenter on Classic FM
- Gillian Moore CBE, Artistic Associate at Southbank Centre
- Trevor Moross, Non-executive Director and charity trustee, former Chair of ASMF
- Philip Noyce, Managing Editor, Classic FM
- Petroc Trelawny, Presenter, BBC Radio 3
‘Sir Neville Marriner: The Complete Warner Classics Recordings’, to be released on Friday 22 March 2024 on Warner Classics, featuring baroque and classical recordings from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.