Sir Neville Marriner is a conductor who has worked with many orchestras but is best known for his association with one he founded in 1959, the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, one of the most recorded of all orchestras. A violinist by training, he began as leader of the orchestra of the Academy but soon moved into conducting. The composer he is most prominently associated with is Mozart.

Born in Lincoln on 15 April 1924, he studied at the Royal College of Music then at the Paris Conservatoire. As a player, he was at first second violin in the Martin String Quartet, played with the LPO between 1952 and 1956, then first desk of the second violins in the LSO from 1956 to 1968; however his dissatisfaction with the then LSO sound made him want to create his own.

He also formed his own ensembles: first the Virtuoso String Trio in 1949, then the Jacobean Ensemble in collaboration with Thurston Dart. But it is the Academy that has became world famous as one of the most polished of chamber orchestras. This output has earned them the Queen's Award for Export Achievement, the first for an orchestra. Their first concert was attended by the head of a newly founded record label, L'Oiseau-Lyre, who signed them up on the strength of it.

The elegant church of St Martin-in-the-Fields is, despite the name, right in the heart of London, on the north-east side of Trafalgar Square. Although they have no regular London season, and spend a lot of their time touring worldwide, the church is still their home since they returned to it in 1997.

Marriner taught violin at the Royal College of Music in 1949 and 1950. In these years he also first studied conducting, in summer schools in Maine under Pierre Monteux. He has been deputy conductor of the Northern Symphony Orchestra (1971-3) and principal conductor of the South German Radio Symphony Orchestra (1986-9). He has also been music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1969-79) and Minnesota Orchestra (1979-86).

Created a CBE in 1979, he was knighted in 1985. Sir Neville is still very active, and his designated successor at the Academy is Iona Brown. for bio and photos

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