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Many consider Friday the 13th unlucky. But, Friday, November 13th 1959 marked the beginning of a fortunate and prosperous venture for a small London chamber ensemble. A year earlier, the principal second violinist of the London Symphony, Neville Marriner, gathered a dozen musicians to provide music for the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square. The critical and public response was enthusiastic and immediate. The ensemble's founder eventually, and reluctantly, became the group's conductor. Sir Neville Mariner would, over the
next forty-five years, oversee the most successful recording career of any classical ensemble with over 300 recordings and concert tours around the world.
It's estimated that at least one Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields recording is played on the radio, somewhere in the United States - every hour.