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Live in Studio 4A
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

The London-based Academy of St. Martin in the Fields has more than 50 members. We have eight of them in Studio 4A for a private recital of music by Percy Grainger and Antonin Dvorák.

The members of ASMF Chamber Ensemble are violinists Kenneth Sillito (leader), Simon Smith and Harvey de Souza; violists Robert Smissen and Stephen Tees; and cellists Stephen Orton and John Heley.

Selected Program Audio Excerpts

The Music

Related Links

  • ASMF Chamber Ensemble Web site

  • Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Web site

    ASMF Biography

    The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields was formed in 1959 by a group of eleven enthusiastic musicians with the aim of performing in public without a conductor. Their first three recordings led to a succession of long-term contracts, and the Academy quickly took their place among the most recorded ensembles in history. As the repertoire expanded from Baroque to Mozart, Bartok and Beethoven, so it became necessary for the principal violin, Neville Marriner, to conduct the larger orchestra.

    The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble was created in 1967 to perform the larger chamber works-from quintets to octets-with players who customarily work together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests. Drawn from the principal players of the orchestra, the Chamber Ensemble tours as a string octet, string sextet, and in other configurations including winds. Its touring commitments are extensive, with annual visits to France, Germany, and Spain, and frequent tours to North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

    Contracts with Philips Classics, Hyperion, and Chandos have led to the release of over thirty CDs by the Chamber Ensemble.

    Kenneth Sillito (violin, leader) has been Associate Artistic Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and leader of the Chamber Ensemble since 1980, taking the ensemble to new heights. He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 14, studying with David Martin. A further scholarship took him to Rome to study with Remy Principe. On returning to England he became associate leader of the English Chamber Orchestra, subsequently becoming leader until 1973. In 1967 Kenneth Sillito founded the Gabrieli String Quartet and remained their leader until 1987, during which time the Quartet gained an international reputation. In 1971 he was honored by being made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.