About us

The Academy of St Thomas was founded by Ivan Cane, cellist and former Head of the Instrumental Service for Norfolk.

Initially a string orchestra, the Academy grew to encompass wind and brass, increasing the range and style of repertoire it performed. This metamorphosis has led to an ensemble regarded as one of the country’s leading groups of its kind.

In 1984 the orchestra appointed a principal guest conductor – the internationally-respected Christopher Adey. Under his direction, the orchestra has been joined by many outstanding soloists, including Alexander Baillie, Michael Collins, Philip Dukes, Laura van der Heijden, Steven Isserlis, John Lill and Kurt Nikannen.

Memorable concerts have featured such rarities as the Petite Symphonie Concertante by Frank Martin, the Concerto for Double String Orchestra by Martinu and Schumann’s seldom performed Konzertstück for Four Horns.

The Academy has recorded two CDs – one in 2000 of works by Poulenc, Tchaikovsky and Puccini; the other in 2006, featuring Saint-Saens Variations on a Theme of Beethoven arranged by Christopher Adey, Gliere’s Concerto for Coloratura Soprano with Catherine May and Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending with Hannah Perowne as soloist.