Bravo! Vail announces extension with Academy |

Bravo! Vail announces extension with Academy

Bravo! Vail fans will be able to see more of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in the future. The festival and the orchestra announced a two-year extension on Sunday for the Academy to continue with Bravo! Vail.
Zach Mahone | Special to the Daily |

VAIL — The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields finished its run of concerts at Bravo! Vail on Sunday, but, as it turns out, the internationally acclaimed ensemble is staying put, after all.

Bravo! Vail artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott announced after the intermission of Sunday’s concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater that the Academy will be returning for two years to the music festival, giving it four resident orchestras.

“We could not let this moment go by without thanking every single incredible musician on this stage,” she said. “It has been the most extraordinary transformational residency for Bravo! Vail in its 29th year and the concerts have been so unimaginable that we can’t let the relationship end there. The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with Joshua Bell, will be joining us for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.”

Sunday’s capacity crowd cheered its approval when McDermott delivered the news.

Quite the lineup

The Academy, and the aforementioned Bell, were operating under a one-year agreement with Bravo! Vail for this summer. In retrospect, this summer looked like a trial run for both organizations, and both seem amenable to more.

The addition of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields gives Bravo! Vail a star-studded lineup of orchestras including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Before allying with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Bravo! Vail was the only summer-music festival in the country with three resident orchestras. Now, it boasts four, including its first international organization.

The Academy extension also insures that Bell will be returning to Vail.

In the last week alone, Bell, 48, performed six solos, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Fourth Violin Concerto, Felix Mendelssohn’s “Double” Concerto with pianist Jeremy Denk and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields will continue to serve as the opening ensemble for the next two summers at Bravo! Vail. Mark your calendars now for June 22, 34 and 25, 2017, as well as June 21, 23 and 24, 2018.

A bit of history

Founded in 1958, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, originally led by Sir Neville Marriner, has become one of the most acclaimed orchestras in the world. The Academy is also a prolific ensemble when it comes to the recording of classical music.

A few of those albums include the landmark 1969 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, ironically performed on Sunday at the Ford Amphitheater, to the entire library of Mozart Symphonies, recorded for the bicentennial of the composer’s death in 1991. A few years before that, the Academy produced an album of the Mendelssohn and Bruch violin concerti with a young Bell as the featured soloist in one of his first CDs.

While the group does not have a conductor in the strictest sense, Bell ended up becoming only the ensemble’s second musical director in 2011, while the venerable Marriner, now 90, remains the organization’s life president.

“This residency with the Academy … and the peerless Joshua Bell has been both an incredible artistic success and a great step forward for Bravo!, not to mention a true gift for our audiences,” Bravo! Vail executive director Jennifer Teisinger said in a statement. “Continuing the residency for another two years underscores our commitment to bringing the world’s best classical artists to the Vail Valley.”

Staff writer Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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