When the orchestra of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields performs one week from today at Sangamon Auditorium, the first thing you might notice is that no one appears to be in charge.
That’s not really true — it’s just that there’s no conductor.
Instead, soloist Julian Rachlin will lead the ensemble, standing alone for some numbers and sitting among the other musicians for the rest.
It’s part of an unusual arrangement that has Rachlin both leading the show in the way a musical director would — selecting the repertoire, for example — and performing throughout the concert.
“We don’t only need to follow with our eyes somebody beating a beat, but we are using our ears,” Harvey de Souza, the co-leader of the ensemble, said in a telephone interview. “We are following inflections of what’s heard and the signals that are given from the leader.”
That’s the same system the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields used when it began giving concerts shortly after Sir Neville Marriner founded the group in 1958.