Blog / Meet the Academy of Ancient Music

Meet the Academy of Ancient Music

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Leo Messias


In Egarr and The Golden Age, the ACO is once again joined by Richard Egarr, the director of the much-loved, Cambridge-based Academy of Ancient Music.

The Academy of Ancient  Music and the ACO are kindred spirits. They are regarded as two of the finest orchestras in the world, with highly distinctive flavours and styles of playing unmatched by other orchestras. Both the AAM and the ACO can expand from its leaner core formation to incorporate full symphonic orchestras. They regularly tour internationally and are some of the most in demand orchestras in activity today.

Similarities apart, we take a look into what makes the Academy of Ancient Music stand on its own as ‘the superstars of the period-instrument world’.

With their roots tracing back to 1726, the AAM perform on period instruments. They revel in the expressive power of old instruments – flutes made out of wood, trumpets without valves, strings woven from gut. Their unique interpretations are flavoured with intense musicianship as well as with that particular sound that cannot be found when compositions are recorded on modern instruments.

In May 2015, ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and ARIA Award-winning oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros toured England with the Academy of Ancient Music. Richard directed the AAM  in a program that explored musical connections between East and West, pairing Vivaldi’s Baroque masterpiece, The Four Seasons, with original compositions by Tawadros. Listen to the sublime Cambridge concert recorded live by BBC Radio 3. Listen to Audio 


In 2009 they performed Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas in an 1800-year old Roman amphitheatre in Sabratha, Libya. In an article in The Telegraph (UK), Sophie Campbell revealed that “the cellos had cloths safety-pinned under their strings to stop the varnish melting in the African sun.”  Read More

The AAM performed Handel’s Water Music for Handel on London’s Thames river, an event that was part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012. Watch the video that follows the day as it unfolded, including the performance and interviews with the players. Watch Video

13-28 June

Travel back in time with Richard Egarr as he presents music from the Golden Age performed on the ACO’s stunning collection of rare Italian instruments from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

PURCELL The Fairy Queen: Suite (selections)
W LAWES Consort set in 6 parts in C major
JS BACH Violin Concerto in A minor
HAYDN Keyboard Concerto in D major
HAYDN Symphony No.44 in E minor