Sir Neville Marriner
(c) Richard Holt

British conductor Sir Neville Marriner died today ‘peacefully in the night on 2 October’, as says a statement from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, whose founder he was.

Born on 15 April 1924 in Lincoln, Sir Neville Marriner studied at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. He began his career as a violinist, playing first in a string quartet and trio, then in the London Symphony Orchestra. It was during this period that he founded the Academy, with the aim of forming a top-class chamber ensemble from London’s finest players. The Academy gave its first performance in 1959 and today enjoys one of the largest discographies of any chamber orchestra worldwide.

He also founded the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 1979 he became Music Director and Principal Conductor of both the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart. Marriner was still conducting into his 90s. Sir Neville was Music Director of the Academy until  2011 when he became Life President and handed the baton to violinist Joshua Bell.

Joshua Bell said today: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Sir Neville Marriner’s passing. He was one of the most extraordinary human beings I have ever known. I will remember him for his brilliance, his integrity, and his humor, both on and off the concert platform. Maestro Marriner will always be the heart and soul of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and we musicians of the orchestra will miss him dearly.”

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