Andrew Manze has had dual careers, one in early music as a violinist, the other as a conductor in mainstream symphonic repertory. His education began at Cambridge, where he studied Classics. He then moved on to music studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, studying with both Simon Standage and Marie Leonhardt.
Manze then joined the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, remaining there until 1993. The following year he began collaborating with harpsichordist Richard Egarr. One of their major releases presented a 1712 collection of violin sonatas by the French composer Jean-Féry Rebel. Meanwhile, Manze formed the group Romanesca with harpsichordist John Toll and lutenist Nigel North; the trio specialized in music of the 17th century. In 1996 Manze was appointed associate director and concertmaster of the London-based Baroque group The Academy of Ancient Music. From 2003-2007, he was music director of The English Concert.
He became a popular presenter on BBC Radio, and made his debut with the BBC Promenade Concert in 1998. That concert was televised nationally, with Manze playing concertos by Pergolesi, Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart, and introducing the public to the enthusiasm and directness of the new ways of performing Baroque and Classical music. He is known for his freedom of ornamentation, bringing an improvisatory excitement to his concerts.
Recording for the French Harmonia Mundi label, Manze won Gramophone, Edison, and Cannes Classical awards for his recording with Romanesca of Biber's flashy and mystical violin sonatas. His playing of Vivaldi's newly discovered "Manchester" sonatas won the Premio Internazionale del Disco Vivaldi Antica Italiana. His album Phantasticus won the Cannes Classical Award and a Diapason D'Or.
Manze was long a busy soloist on the international concert scene, appearing in one season with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Canadian early music group Tafelmusik, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Increasingly often in the 2000s and 2010s, Manze turned to mainstream Romantic and contemporary repertory, leading traditional symphony orchestras rather than early music ensembles. From 2006 to 2014 he was chief conductor of Sweden's Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. After a sequence of guest appearances with top German, English, and American orchestras, he was appointed chief conductor of the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Hannover, Germany, in 2014. The year 2016 saw the beginning of a Manze-led cycle of Ralph Vaughan Williams' symphonies with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. As of 2017, Manze's most recent Baroque recording was a version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos with the Taverner Players, recorded in 2010.
In addition to conducting, Manze has been active as a teacher, writer, and editor. He was honored in 2011 with Sweden's Rudolf Schock Prize, previously bestowed upon such luminaries as Gidon Kremer, György Ligeti, and Kaija Saariaho. Manze is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. ~ Joseph Stevenson & James Manheim