From the Director
Why the Academy
The Academy has its origin in an ongoing discussion I had with Patrick Hemmerlé over the 2018-2019 year. Patrick was then the piano teacher of my son, Joss, and the discussion centred around arranging an end of year public recital for Joss. Joss was ready for this pianistically and the experience would have given him a taste of professional life. He had given an hour solo recital the previous year at his school but the attendance was poor and so the experience was disappointing for him after having put in so much preparation.
But finding a setting for a public recital posed a problem. It was clear that this was not something that was a normal part of the Cambridge landscape. It then struck me that Joss couldn’t be the only young musician in this situation and that perhaps the solution to this was to create a shared concert series for “advanced young musicians.”
When I suggested this idea to Patrick, his reaction was, “We must do this.” That is how it all began. Patrick was keen on masterclasses. I was keen to integrate chamber music because I had been unable to find anything in the Cambridge area like a wonderful chamber music programme Joss had so enjoyed in Vancouver, Canada. We approached Graham Walker, Barbara Dziewięcka-Data and Marie-Noelle Kendall and they were immediately enthusiastic. Toward the end of the summer of 2019 we found ourselves outside Patrick's house working out a format.
We were all set to hold our first session in March 2020 when Covid hit. But when I consulted parents about starting in the fall of that year, they were almost begging for something as virtually all other music programmes had shut down. So we started the fall term of 2020 with 8 students and three ensembles, everyone wearing facemasks and social distancing.
By the time the 2021 summer term began we had 15 students and four ensembles and had reached our maximum capacity. My original hunch that other parents were searching for the same thing I had been for Joss was confirmed. A family-like community of parents, students and coaches has grown around the Academy, creating an intimate and supportive environment where young musicians can explore and share musically together.
- Andrew Sion
Founder and Director