Andrew Manze has emerged as one of the leading violinists in the early music movement. He specializes in music from between 1610 and 1830. 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 Tell 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, and in 2006, was named principal conductor and music director of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.
Manze is well-known in Britain for his broadcast work. He has become a popular "presenter" on BBC radio, and made his debut with the 1998 BBC Promenade Concert. 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 Classic music.
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. The later award was also given to his recording of Schmelzer's violin sonatas. Manze was named the 1998 Classical Artist of the Year.
Manze is in demand as an expert in Baroque music interpretation. He serves as a performance advisor and director for the European Community Baroque Orchestra, gives master classes, and has been visiting professor at the Royal College of Music in London. He is also 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.
He is known for his freedom of ornamentation, bringing an improvisatory excitement to his concerts. Yet, as a conductor he continues to expand his expertise into the music of other eras as he appears as guest conductor with more orchestras. Manze lives with his wife (also a violinist) in England's Cotswolds region.