Academy of St. Martin in the Fields makes Bravo! Vail debut Thursday, June 23 |

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields makes Bravo! Vail debut Thursday, June 23

Daily staff report
Ian Douglas | Special to the Daily
Ian Douglas | Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields performs at Bravo! Vail.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 23; Saturday, June 25; and Sunday, June 26.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Ford Park, Vail.

Cost: Tickets range from $28 to $119. Lawn seats for children ages 3 to 12 are $5. Limited tickets remain.

More information: Visit, or call the box office at 877-812-5700.

VAIL — The Academy of St Martin in the Fields — the internationally acclaimed 58-year-old, London-based chamber orchestra — will make its debut this week at Bravo! Vail in a three-concert residency led by music director and violin virtuoso Joshua Bell.

The residency, which includes performances of blockbuster works on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, kicks off Bravo! Vail’s 29th season and marks the first time a chamber orchestra and an international ensemble will perform at the festival.

“We are immensely proud and honored to be the first orchestra from outside the U.S. to be in residency at Vail, and I can’t wait to introduce the Vail audiences to this wonderful group of musicians,” Bell said with regard to the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, which he’s led since September 2011.


For the ensemble’s inaugural concert on Thursday, Bell, who last appeared at Bravo! Vail in a sold-out concert with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2014, will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s charming, yet highly virtuosic, Violin Concerto No. 4, written when the composer was 19 years old.

Bell will also lead the orchestra from the concertmaster’s chair in Felix Mendelssohn’s exuberant Symphony No. 4, known as his “Italian Symphony,” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 — a work the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields famously performed on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning 1984 film “Amadeus.” The deeply dramatic piece is prominently featured during the film’s powerful opening scenes.


The program for the second concert, held on Saturday includes four works: Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, known as the “Classical Symphony,” due to Prokofiev’s deliberate imitation of Joseph Haydn’s style; Camille Saint-Saens’ rousing “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,” featuring Bell as soloist; Ludwig van Beethoven’s lighthearted Symphony No. 8; and Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Piano, which will again feature Bell as soloist, as well as pianist Jeremy Denk, winner of a 2013 MacArthur Genius Grant and one of Bell’s frequent chamber music collaborators.


To close out its groundbreaking residency, on Sunday the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields performs the beautiful “Chaconne,” attributed to late 17th century and early 18th century Italian composer Tomaso Antonio Vitali, with Bell appearing as soloist. Bell will also solo in Antonio Vivaldi’s sparkling and utterly evocative “The Four Seasons,” as well as Piazzolla’s tango-infused “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.” The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields’ 1969 landmark recording of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” was an international best-seller and earned the ensemble its first gold record.


Every summer, Bravo! Vail presents performances by powerhouse symphony orchestras from around the country, with this year’s lineup including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, in addition to the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Adding one of the world’s most-respected chamber orchestras to the mix has been a longtime goal of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, who has served as Bravo! Vail’s artistic director since 2011.

“Ever since I became artistic director, I have imagined how wonderful it would be for the audiences to experience the finest chamber orchestras from around the world,” said McDermott, reflecting on the important milestone of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields’ debut this season.

“Nothing can replace the visceral and direct impact of masterworks originally intended for smaller forces. The impact is that much greater when the ensemble is led by a great violinist. It is a dream come true to bring the storied Academy of St. Martin in the Fields to the festival, led by the incomparable Joshua Bell.”

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