The Academy of Ancient Music appoints Richard Bratby as Hogwood Fellow

The Academy of Ancient Music appoints Richard Bratby as Hogwood Fellow

Author, journalist and critic Richard Bratby has become the fourth Hogwood Fellow appointed by the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM).

Named after AAM founder Christopher Hogwood CBE, the position seeks to further our understanding of and relationship with early music. Bratby’s primary role is the curation and preparation of a commemorative book about the history and work of AAM, ahead of the orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2023/24.

Richard Bratby commented: ‘The history of the Academy of Ancient Music is one of the great untold stories of British orchestral life – and one of international significance. This is the group that arguably did more than any other to lift historically-informed performance out of its academic niche and into the concert halls and record collections of the world. The story of the AAM is, in a large part, the story of the way we perform, present and (most importantly) enjoy music today.

As the AAM approaches its 50th anniversary, it’s a good time to take stock: to step back and examine this unfinished story in full. AAM has been part of my musical life for as long as I’ve been listening to Purcell and Mozart; to be entrusted with telling that tale is a privilege, a challenge, and – I’ve got to be honest – so far, enormous fun. I’m determined to do justice to the character, the ambition and the irrepressible energy of one of the world’s great orchestras.’

AAM CEO John McMunn said: ‘Nearly silenced though we are by COVID-19, there is much to look forward to at the Academy of Ancient Music, with the completion of our fabled Mozart piano concerto cycle due to begin in the coming months, the debut of a new Music Director in September and our 50th anniversary season in 2023/24.

As we prepare for this next chapter in the AAM story, I can think of no better use of the current enforced calm than to take stock of how we got here in the first place, and no better man to tell the tale than Richard Bratby. Richard has been steeped in classical music culture his whole life, first as a cellist, latterly as a concerts manager, and more recently as a respected critic and author. I am delighted to announce his appointment as Hogwood Fellow and I look forward to working with him in our continued efforts to explore, preserve and reveal the great treasure house of baroque and classical music for generations to come.’

Previous Hogwood Fellows include Robert Levin, Sandy Burnett, and most recently Emma Safe, who Bratby succeeds in the post. During her tenure, Safe created artworks inspired by the sounds and rhythms of AAM’s performances, which later graced the covers of AAM’s critically acclaimed recordings, including Dussek: Messe Solemnelle (AAM011) and Handel: Brockes-Passion (AAM007).

Richard Bratby writes on music for The Spectator, Gramophone and The Arts Desk and is deputy music critic of The Birmingham Post, as well as a programme and sleeve-note writer for the BBC, Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House, Chandos Records and the Salzburg Festival. In 1998 he joined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as manager of the new CBSO Centre, and went on to launch and manage the CBSO’s chamber music series and Youth Orchestra before leaving to become a full-time writer in 2015. During his sixteen years with the orchestra he served for four years on the CBSO Board, and was latterly Secretary and Chief Executive of the CBSO Benevolent Fund. Born on the Wirral, Richard studied Modern History at St Edmund Hall, Oxford before playing as principal cello in the now-defunct Lanka Philharmonic Orchestra. After a stint teaching A-level History, he joined the staff of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997 and moved to the CBSO the following year. He is married to the theatre historian Annette Rubery, and they live in Lichfield, Staffordshire with their cat Rusty. His book Forward: 100 Years of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was published by Elliot & Thompson in 2019.

Find out more about Richard here