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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Conductor Neville Marriner dies at 92

FILE - In this March 15, 2016 file photo, musician Neville Marriner is made a Companion of Honour by Britain's Prince William, at Buckingham Palace, in London. The Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestra says its founder, conductor Neville Marriner, has died. He was 92, it was reported on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (Anthony Devlin / Associated Press)
By Robert Barr Associated Press

LONDON – Conductor Neville Marriner, who led the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields to become one of the world’s most-recorded classical music groups, has died, the academy said Sunday. He was 92.

Marriner, a violinist in the London Symphony Orchestra, joined with several other musicians in 1959 to form a chamber group, which was intended to perform without a leader. The group’s mouthful of a name, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, was inspired by the church in central London where they performed.

“The name was chosen without much thinking because, when we started, we never thought we would even get off the ground,” Marriner once said. “And then we were stuck with it.”

The academy built its reputation with stylish performances of baroque and classical repertoire: Bach, Handel, Mozart and Haydn. From its beginnings, with 18 players, it grew to a full-size orchestra with an affiliated chorus, and it has made more than 500 recordings.

The group’s soundtrack for Milos Forman’s 1984 Oscar-winning “Amadeus,” composed mainly of Mozart pieces, sold millions, becoming one of the best-selling classical recordings of all time.

“We are greatly saddened by today’s news. Sir Neville’s artistic and recording legacy, not only with the academy but with orchestras and audiences worldwide, is immense,” said Paul Aylieff, academy chairman. “He will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him, and the academy will ensure it continues to be an excellent and fitting testament to Sir Neville.”

Marriner was principal second violin in the London Symphony Orchestra when he was one of the founders of the academy.

He became music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 1968-77. He then became music director of the Minnesota Orchestra 1979-1986, and directed the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart, Germany, from 1984-89.

Marriner married Mary Elizabeth Sims in 1955. He had a son and a daughter from his first marriage.