The Academy of St Cecilia was founded in 1999 as a learned and social society with a particular interest in Early Music, loosely interpreted as music before 1825. It has included a number of distinguished figures in the field of Early Music amongst its Honorary Fellows, and has enjoyed the association of patrons who include James Bowman, Monica Huggett, Naji Hakim, Professor Reinhard Strohm and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The Master of the Academy, the late Mark Frusher Johnson, was a teacher of music and a singer with professional choirs.
The Academy elected to its Fellowship all with an interest in early music. Honorary Fellowship was reserved for heads, officers and staff of musical organisations, universities, examining bodies etc. who were considered to have made a significant contribution to early music.
The activities of the Academy centred upon the UK, but in latter years, in response to a continuing growth in membership, Regional Representatives were appointed for Australia and Canada. In the UK, the Academy’s twice yearly General Meetings were initially held in London’s historic Church of St Margaret, Lothbury, where the formal business of the Academy was followed by musical entertainment of a high standard including vocal and organ recitals, choral concerts and illustrated lectures. Subsequently, the Academy developed a closer association with the Roman Catholic Church, and organized workshops on plainchant as well as several meetings at the London Oratory School.
The Academy formerly produced an annual newsletter, Vox, which included articles written by members and relevant items of interest. It also maintained an Early Music Advisory Panel consisting of Honorary Fellows, who were available to answer specialist questions in that area.
The Academy was less active in the second decade of the new century, and with Mark Johnson’s death in 2018 it appears to have ceased activity.
I was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Academy in 2003.