top of page
01 AAM and Laurence Cummings - landscape - credit Benjamin Ealovega_edited.png

(c) Benjamin Ealovega

26. NOV | Roman Catholic Dome

Academy of Ancient Music
Laurence Cummings

Hilary Cronin

Music for an Empress



19:30  Pre-Concert Talk LAURENCE CUMMINGS

20:00 Concert


Academy of Ancient Music travels to the Vienna of Empress Maria Theresa – where genius paid court, and music flourished in magnificent (and unexpected) new ways.

They called her the ‘mother-in-law of Europe’, but as monarch, war-leader, diplomat and patron of the arts, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria was one of the most extraordinary rulers in European history. Tonight, Academy of Ancient Music pays homage: recreating an era of splendour, innovation and music without limits.

Some of the names need no introduction – and Gluck, Haydn and the young Mozart were just some of the stars who shone around Maria Theresa’s throne. But just as the Empress herself defied convention, so Academy of Ancient Music will explore some more neglected names too: Maria Teresa Agnesi and Marianna Martinez are composers of striking originality and inspiration who flourished during the reign of a truly exceptional woman.



"Licenza" from Sofonsiba


Symphony No. 48 "Maria Theresa"


Berenice, che fai


Sinfonia from Ruggiero


Concerto for Harpsichord in E major


"Non vi turbate" from Alceste


Symphony in D major


"Rapido turbin vedo" from Sofonisba



Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) is an orchestra with a worldwide reputation for excellence in baroque and classical music. Using historically-informed techniques, period-specific instruments and original sources, we bring music vividly to life in committed, vibrant performances.


Established 50 years ago by Christopher Hogwood to make the first British recordings of orchestral works using original instruments, AAM has released more than 300 albums to date, collecting countless accolades including Classic BRIT, Gramophone and Edison awards. We now record on our own label and are proud to be the most listened-to period-instrument orchestra online, with over one million monthly listeners on streaming platforms. With Music Director Laurence Cummings, AAM celebrates the orchestra’s Golden Anniversary in 2023-24 with the completion of a landmark project to record Mozart’s complete works for keyboard and orchestra, the publication of a new book by Richard Bratby detailing the history of the organization, and celebratory performances across the UK and internationally.


Beyond the concert hall, AAM is committed to nurturing the next generation of musicians and music-lovers through our innovative side-by-side learning and participation initiative, AAMplify. Working in collaboration with music colleges and universities across the UK we reach thousands of children and young people in education each year.


AAM proudly holds the position of Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican Centre and the Teatro San Cassiano, Venice, and Orchestra-in-Residence at the University of Cambridge, Milton Abbey International Summer Music Festival and The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.

01 AAM and Laurence Cummings - landscape - credit Benjamin Ealovega_edited.png

(c) Benjamin Ealovega

Laurence Cummings
06 Laurence Cummings - landscape - credit Benjamin Ealovega.jpg

(c) Benjamin Ealovega


Laurence Cummings is one of Britain's most exciting and versatile exponents of historical performance both as a conductor and a harpsichord player. He is currently Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music, Musical Director of the London Handel Festival and Music Director of Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música in Porto. He was Artistic Director of the Internationale Händel-Festpiele Göttingen from 2011 - 2021. A noted authority on Handel, the Guardian has written of him “he now ranks as one of the composer’s best advocates in the world. Self-effacing on the podium, faithful above all to the score, he matches Handel’s energy and invention with unmistakable lyricism, generosity and dignity.”

Frequently praised for his stylish and compelling performances in the opera house, his career has taken him across Europe where he has conducted productions at houses including Opernhaus Zurich (Belshazzar, King Arthur), Theater an der Wien (Saul), Gothenburg Opera (Orfeo ed Euridice, Giulio Cesare, Alcina and Idomeneo). Théâtre du Châtelet (Saul) and Opera de Lyon (Messiah). In the UK he has been a regular at English National Opera (Radamisto, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Semele, Messiah, Orfeo and The Indian Queen), Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Saul, Giulio Cesare and The Fairy Queen) and Garsington Opera (Vivaldi cycle: L’Incoronazione di Dario, L’Olympiade and La Verita in Cimento, Orfeo), as well as conducting at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre (Berenice and Alceste), Opera North (L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Orfeo in a version for both western and Indian classical musicians), and for Opera GlassWorks (The Rake’s Progress).

Equally at home on the concert platform, he is regularly invited to conduct both period and modern instrument orchestras worldwide, including Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, Handel and Haydn Society Boston, Croatian Baroque Orchestra, La Scintilla Zurich, Juilliard415, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Musikcollegium Winterthur, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Washington National Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony and in the UK with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Hallé Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

His recordings include discs with Emma Kirkby and Royal Academy of Music on BIS, Angelika Kirschlager and the Basel Chamber Orchestra for Sony BMG, Maurice Steger and The English Concert for Harmonia Mundi and Ruby Hughes and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on Chandos, as well as a series of live opera and concert performances recorded at the Göttingen International Handel Festival and released on Accent. He has also released numerous solo harpsichord recital and chamber music recordings for Naxos.

As well as his regular commitments his future plans include productions for Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Theater Basel, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and at Dutch National Opera.

He was an organ scholar at Christ Church Oxford where he graduated with first class honours. Until 2012 he was Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music which led to both baroque and classical orchestras forming part of the established curriculum. He is now the William Crotch Professor of Historical Performance.

Hilary Cronin


Selected by BBC Music Magazine as a Rising Star of 2022, Hilary Cronin won both First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2021 London Handel International Singing Competition.


Hilary trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire where she was a Dame Susan Morden Scholar and Trinity London Scholar and at Royal Holloway University of London where she was awarded the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary and the Driver Prize for Excellence in Performance.


Engagements during 2023 include Oriana Amadigi and Galatea Acis and Galatea with The English Concert, J.S. Bach B Minor Mass, Handel L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and Didon (cover) Les Troyens with The Monteverdi Choir, Bach Christmas Cantatas with the London Handel Players, Haydn Nelson Mass with The Sixteen, Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Royal Orchestral Society, Bach Christmas Oratorio with Oxford Bach Soloists and Handel Messiah with Britten Sinfonia and The Hallé.


Previous engagements include Poppea Agrippina for English Touring Opera, Second Woman Dido and Aeneas Recording with La Nuova Musica, Bach St Matthew Passion with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Handel Chandos Anthems with Arcangelo, St Magnus Festival Recital with Florilegium, London Handel Festival Summer Soirée, Fauré Requiem at Teatro La Fenice, Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a recital at the Halle Haendel Festival.

bottom of page