Center for the Arts Presents Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Posted: April 15, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: April 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Academy of St. Martin in the Field

Sir Neville Marriner says that the small ensemble he founded in 1958 “had no intention of giving any concerts or continuing forever.”

Fifty years and countless performances later, it seems that the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields had a change of heart. Led by viola and violin soloist Julian Rachlin, the academy will appear at Mason’s Center for the Arts on Sunday, April 18, at 4 p.m.

The orchestra will present a program that includes Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite,” Op. 40; Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata for Violin and Piano no. 9 in A Major, Op. 47; Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821, arranged for viola and strings; and Astor Piazzolla’s “Cuatro estaciónes porteñas” (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires).

Rachlin has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras and has been praised for his powerful and refreshing interpretations of classical music.

Born in Lithuania in 1974, he immigrated to Austria with his parents at age 4. Rachlin studied violin with Boris Kuschnir and Pinchas Zukerman before gaining international acclaim overnight in 1988, winning the “Young Musician of the Year” Award at the Eurovision Competition in Amsterdam.

This prompted Lorin Maazel to invite the young virtuoso to debut at the Berlin Festival with the Orchestre National de France and to tour Europe and Japan with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Soon after, Rachlin became the youngest soloist ever to play with the Vienna Philharmonic. Rachlin has also been honored with the “Accademia Musicale Chigiana” International Prize.

Rachlin and his duo partner, pianist Itamar Golan, frequently perform at recitals around the globe. Eight years ago, Rachlin established his own chamber music festival in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The “Julian Rachlin and Friends” festival is rapidly gaining international renown, and his “friends” have included musicians, actors and even the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Formed from a group of leading London musicians without a conductor, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields made its debut in its namesake church on November 13, 1959. Soon, the demand for the academy, particularly in the recording studio, began to grow as fast as its membership and its repertoire, and Marriner was forced to exchange his violin for a conductor’s baton.

Although the orchestra’s size has increased significantly since its inception, it still retains the collegiate spirit and flexibility from its early days, and today the academy performs in combinations from a chamber group to a symphony orchestra.

Known for its outstanding performances and award-winning recordings, the academy maintains an active international concert schedule, and alongside its performances with Marriner and Kenneth Sillito, it collaborates with some of today’s most thrilling musicians, including Murray Perahia, Joshua Bell, Julia Fischer, Janine Jansen and Anthony Marwood.

This impressive ensemble boasts more than 500 recordings in its library, making it the most recorded chamber orchestra worldwide.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts. HSBC Bank is the Magnificent Music series sponsor for the 2009-10 season.

Tickets are $60, $52 and $30. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu.

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