Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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3 years, 17 cakes, Farewell OAE

Mon 8 Sep 2014

I can’t quite believe it but I am leaving the OAE 3 years to the day after I started.  The past three years at the OAE have been a complete whirlwind with the brilliant, vast and varied projects that we undertake here in the education department and the fantastic concerts that the Orchestra offer.

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Speed Interview – Gavan Ring

Tue 10 Dec 2013


Gavan Ring joins us this Sunday for a concert performance of Offenbach’s Fantasio.  We spoke to him about Music, Beckett and Dylan Moran.

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850 children, 4 days, 3 projects

Fri 6 Dec 2013


Wednesday 3 Dec 2013
This morning I woke up tired. Really tired. End of term tired. It took me a while to figure out why, seeing as we are only at the beginning of December, it was extra hard to drag my body out of bed on a Wednesday morning. Then I conceded that perhaps it was the three huge education events we’d had in as many days.

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Music and Art – Perfect Harmony

Fri 18 Oct 2013

On Saturday 12th October we took part in the annual Guardian event The Big Draw at Kings Place.  Two OAE musicians; Katherine Spencer (clarinet) and Joanna Lawrence (violin), supplied the music for the ‘draw what you hear’ workshops.

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Big Draw

Wed 21 Aug 2013

On the 12th October this year, the OAE Education department will be taking part in The Guardian’s annual Big Draw.  This is a fantastic event which aims to encourage art for all the family, with artists leading workshops and activities that all ages can get involved in.  The OAE have been involved in this day for several years and we are delighted to be part of the exciting project once again.

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Capital Strings Tour

Thu 11 Jul 2013

Last weekend we embarked on a first for the Education Department – a training and concerts tour for young people.  This tour was a celebration of three years’ work across our four partner London boroughs – Camden, Wandsworth, Merton and Islington – with whom we’ve developed many projects to give young people opportunities to work with members of the OAE.

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Half term musings from the Education team

Mon 18 Feb 2013

So much happens in the OAE Education department and as it is just little old me, the only office-based member of the team, I hardly get any time to sit down and blog about what I’ve been up to.  My track record of broken blog promises for Team Comms is horrendous but today, the first day of half term, I have a bit of extra time so I gleefully agreed to actually sit and complete a blog.

I want to tell you about all the wonderful things I’ve been up to this half term.

I’m going to start with my most frequent commitment – String Club – which dominates every Monday afternoon. Every week Nancy Cole (our Graduate Intern) and I head over to a local primary school to join OAE violinists teaching the violin.  One of my favourite moments at String Club, in fact one of my favourite moments since joining the OAE, happened last week when the tutors decided to run a listening session based on the Four Seasons.  Excerpts from Winter and Spring were played by Cathy Ford, Naomi Burrell and Holly Harman and the pupils were enthralled.  It was magic to watch, seeing them watch their tutors completely in awe, as if they were Rock Stars.  Baroque and Roll.

Another thing that happened this half term was my viol debut.  When I joined the OAE, I never imagined that I would be sat in front of a class of 10 year olds with a bass viol, picking out a ground bass for a professional player.  This is exactly the situation I found myself in at a Guardian Newspaper workshop where we invite classes from partner schools to Kings Place to interview an OAE player and write about them in a journalistic style.   I’m particularly proud of the picture description (at the top of this blog).

To report everything else that has been going on in one article would take me into a small novel word count rather than a punchy blog but, to give a bit more information, this half term has included – Early Years work in Camden, live music in nurseries, the OAE Academy where young professional players receive OAE coaching, an amazing schools concert where about 350 pupils came to Kings Place to play with the Orchestra, coaching for youth orchestras and a newly formed early music group, Musicians on Call visits to nursing homes…

So this week I pause briefly to catch my breath but it isn’t really a break; it’s a chance to gear up for next week when we have a pre-concert event, a study day and performance and another schools concert – to name a few things.  Phew.

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Shine a Light

Tue 22 Jan 2013

Hi from OAE Education!  It’s been a busy time for us, so busy that I haven’t had time to write about everything we’ve been doing recently, so here’s a bit about our Shine a Light project.

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Joyous voices and spelling stumbles

Thu 22 Nov 2012

It is a widely known fact amongst those who know me that I can’t spell.  I’m the person to play Scrabble against but always the last to be picked for a game of Cranium. I did warn the OAE in my interview that spelling was not my forte but as a competent computer user I get round it with the wonder of autocorrect and spell check and I hoped it wouldn’t be too much of an issue.  Clearly the warning wasn’t enough to put them off and they took a chance on me, bad spelling and all.

Some words come easier to me than others and while Enlightenment has never proved a challenge, somehow the Christmas Education project names always include a particularly Ellie-mind-block word.

A Seasonal Spelling Stumble, my Christmas Conundrum.

Last year our event was ‘Hallelujah Indeed’ and we filled the Royal Festival Hall stage with young singers and players performing Hallelujah inspired repertoire.  It was glorious. In organising that event I had to write and type Hallelujah more than the average person does in a lifetime (it clearly wasn’t’ enough as I’m still stumbling over that word as I type this – Hall-e-lu-jah). This year, Hallelujah! I cried as I was told of our new project, ‘Joyous voices’.  Sadly, my joy was short lived.  Joyous.  It’s that pesky second o that seems to evade me and as last year, in organising this event, I’ve spent a lot of time exasperated at my absent vowels and erroneous consonants.

However, in amongst my orthographic challenges I am really looking forward to Joyus (sic) Voices.  During the pre-concert event we have members of the Foundling Choir and Foundling Community Choir accompanied by members of the OAE.  All of this takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer at 5.45pm and we’d love to see you in the audience as there will be encouraged audience participation!

I hope to see you there and in the meantime, if anyone wants to make me up a mnemonic for joyous or hallelujah I’d be ever so grateful.

Ellie, Education Officer (the irony isn’t lost on me)

For your amusement, here are just a few of the words that I stumbled over during writing this:

Particulary – particularly
Avade – evade
Consients- consonants
Newmonic -mnemonic
Accopained – accompanied

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Big Draw

Wed 24 Oct 2012

Last Saturday we took part in the Guardian Big Draw, a really lovely day where families come to Kings Place to get involved in lots of different art activities.  The OAE’s part in this day is always slightly abstract and I love the creativity that it generates.  On a Big Draw day, two OAE musicians play duets and then have a range of drawing activities that anyone can join with.

This year we had Tony Robson on recorders and Rebecca Stockwell on bassoon and the activity sheets included: draw what you hear, draw the musicians, turning music notes and staves into something different or draw what the music makes you think of.  Of course we also had the all-important blank pieces of paper for those who wanted no prompts but to simply sit and draw to the music.

The results from Saturday were spectacular.  We covered a column in Kings Place in music inspired artwork – from quaver-cats to portraits of the musicians- the variety of creative output was brilliant.  The day ended on a real high when Chris Riddell, who had given a talk to budding artists, came to draw our musicians, capturing them in his trademark way.

For me, I love asking young people to draw what they hear – you are either met with a very confused look or wide eyed enthusiasm; there are no right or wrong answers for this task. I also like the exploration of art in this multidiscipline way, plus being able to listen to OAE musicians playing duets all day is such a treat!

Finally, a lovely story that came to me as feedback after Saturday was from a mum who, on taking her children home, was asked if they could listen to more music to draw what they could hear. More drawing, more music, more art – that’s what it’s all about really!

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