I would be falling down in my role as civic booster if I did not mention that Sir Neville Marriner was music director of my hometown orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra, between 1979-1986.
But it was as founder and conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields that Sir Neville is most remembered. Begun in 1958, the Academy was made up of 12 of the best musicians in London, hand-picked by Sir Neville. Marriner (April 15, 1924-October 2, 2016) was an accomplished musician at the time, serving as principal second violinist in the London Symphony Orchestra.
According to his obituary in The Telegraph, Sir Neville made some 600 recordings of 2,000 musical works and the Academy is the world’s the most-recorded orchestra. Among their recordings was the soundtrack for the Mozart biopic Amadeus for which they won a Grammy. The Academy was known (quoting The Telegraph) for its “fresh, technically brilliant, interpretations of the pre-classical and classical repertoire,” but it moved on to Romantic and early-modern music. In the process, the ensemble grew to about 70 musicians.