Ensemble from Academy of St. Martin in the Fields makes TECS debut
By Jane Sathe
October 26, 2023
The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a respected chamber orchestra, was founded by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958. Joshua Bell, who performed in past TECS seasons as a violinist, has served as its music director since 2011.
The Academy Chamber Ensemble was created in 1967, drawing its membership from the orchestra’s principal players. One of the goals was to present chamber music as performed by musicians who play together on a regular basis, instead of the common practice of starting with a string quartet and adding guest performers.
The musicians on Tuesday’s program have the freedom and flexibility to team up in different combinations to play everything from octets to wind trios. The ensemble has released more than 30 CDs over the years and toured extensively in North America and Europe.
“I used to manage their touring activities when I lived in London, as well as in New York,” Baldwin said. One of the things he found fascinating in arts management was learning how different communities had different tastes in composers and genres — and how concert series across the country reflected different outlooks and goals.
In concert series based in academic settings, like the series at the University of Virginia, “there is definitely a willingness, if not an encouragement, to get out of that Bach-Brahms-Beethoven bubble,” Baldwin said. “An academic environment really does offer room to try new things.”
Baldwin is enjoying getting to meet audience members and getting a sense of what makes the Tuesday Evening Concert Series distinctive.
“Certainly, one of the reasons I came here is that they are committed to classical music,” he said.
Economics and other concerns have prompted other concert series across the country to change their programming and add jazz, pops and other genres “at their own peril,” Baldwin said. “There is a place for that, but when you dilute yourself so much, you dilute your identity.”
Tickets are $45 orchestra, $35 loge and balcony seats with full views and $12 for loge and balcony seats with partial views and student seats. Principal underwriters are Frank and Mary S. Dodge and Virginia National Bank.
Jane Dunlap Sathe (434) 978-7249