Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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From the sublime to the…

Thu 15 Sep 2011

Haydnsall, Eisenstadt

Above is the last place the OAE performed.

The Haydnsaal, Schloss Esterhazy, Eisenstadt, Austria.

And this is where we’re performing next:

Soho Factory, Warsaw, Poland

Intrigued? We are too!

Watch this space for more details after our concert in Warsaw…

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OAE Tots

Wed 14 Sep 2011

OAE Tots Concert

So how old were you when you first heard professional musicians live?

You’re never too young to experience the OAE, as I and Rachel Beckett (recorder player and flautist) showed last Sunday, when more than forty 2 and 3 year olds had their first taste of baroque favourites.

The ethos of the OAE education programme is that every project is inspired by the orchestra’s core repertoire. These workshops at King’s Place were no exception, including music by Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann and of course J. S. Bach.

I absolutely love working with this age-group. Their responses are so immediate and truthful. They don’t yet know how to hide boredom or fain enthusiasm. When you could hear a pin drop as woolly dog introduced the recorder, I knew our young audience was hooked.

The story of The 3 Billy Goats Gruff was perfect to demonstrate Rachel’s different sized instruments; descant and treble recorders, and mellow flute. What about the bass you ask? The ugly troll of course.

The tots were skipping goats to the Country Dance from Handel’s Water Music, sleepy goats to the slow movement of Vivaldi’s  Il Gardellino Concerto, and dancing goats to the Badinerie from Bach’s Flute Suite.

As a final climax all were given instruments with which to make quiet ‘mouse’ music, or noisy ‘lion’ music. It may not be what Telemann had in mind when composing Wassermusik, but the Tritons movement works brilliantly to tell Aesop’s Fable ‘The Lion and the Mouse’.

It was Rachel’s chance to weald her sopranino recorder – about as far away in pitch as it’s possible to get from a double bass . It was also a chance for education director, Cherry Forbes and our new education officer, Ellie Cowan to let their hair down as they took charge of the puppets and led a lively chase across the room.

The only problem…finding the best angle to get a photo of your tiny tot next to a huge double bass.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

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Taking pride

Thu 8 Sep 2011

Taking pride

I might have just been paranoid, but I’m pretty sure that when I stood up and took this picture in a meeting, announcing that I was going to write a blog article, that everyone thought I was a bit mad. And probably wondered how I was going to make this meeting sound in any way interesting to people.

But I thought that you, our readers, fans and concert-goers might be interested in some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on at the OAE, and indeed, other Orchestras.

This relates a little to a favourite anecdote of our CEO, Stephen. He was asked at some function-or-other if being Chief Executive of the OAE was a full-time job. The person asking was pretty surprised when he said yes, and even more surprised when he said it was also a full time job for the 17 others in the office too.

So when you look at the Orchestra’s staff list in the concert programme you may well be thinking ‘what do all these people actually do?!’

Well, in the Communications team, one of the things we do is (and this may come as a surprise to you) talk and plan with other Orchestras and our main London venue, Southbank Centre. This is where Pride comes in. Pride is not anything to do with a march or a type of bread but is instead, rather more mundanely, the name of the regular marketing meeting the four Resident Orchestras; the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta and ourselves, have with Southbank Centre. The name ‘Pride’ comes from around 10 years ago, when these meetings first started off life as a group working on exhibiting ‘pride’ in the Resident Orchestras.

We have these about every 4-6 weeks and use it as a way of coordinating things like the launch of each season, mailings, bringing up any issues with things like leaflet racks or plasma screens, sharing audience research findings and so on.

At the meeting in question we were talking about one of the more exciting things we work on and one thing where we definitely all make a joint effort – the start of the classical season. We’re always keen to make a bit of a splash with this, to alert the concert-going public that the Proms are over and it’s time for the start of the ‘proper’ (!) classical season. Not only that but we all want to raise our profiles and remind people that while other very good venues exist in London, Southbank Centre really does offer an unrivalled choice and breadth of classical performance.

So, we’ve been talking in recent meetings about the scope of the campaign – should it be a tube campaign as we did last year? Or should it be more rooted on the Southbank Centre site? We went for the latter. We’ve also been talking about which pictures to use for the campaign, and the re-development of the Classical mini-site on the Southbank Centre website. This is going to feature a video trailer for the new season, so we’ve talked about what that should contain and all contributed footage for it. We’ve also engaged an agency to help promote the launch of the site and the new season online. Everything is progressing nicely now – so expect […]

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The Night Shift previewed in the Londonist

Wed 7 Sep 2011

If you’ve not come across it before the Londonist is a great online magazine, with info and previews of lots of interesting things to do around town. We’re really thrilled they’ve done a little piece on our Night Shift in-a-pub, and that they’re really *got* the OAE and what we’re all about.
If you’re intrigued we still have some advance tickets available for £6 here.

Coming up soon on the blog: Photographer Eric Richmond on the new pictures for the 2011-2012 brochure, What goes on in PRIDE meetings, and why Milk is good for classical music.

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Algae, cravings and no wine. Natasha’s first day

Tue 6 Sep 2011

Natasha Riordan-Eva

I’m Natasha, half of the new Communications Intern duo (my partner in crime being Darren Charlton, the Thursday-Friday man. We’re still looking for a good Jedward style name so have a look at suggestions on the previous blogand start thinking up your own ingenious ideas). I graduated in July from Bristol University so this is my first venture into the working world, away from the comforts of a student loan and 2pm starts. I worked as an OAE student rep during my second and third years and was eager to continue with the orchestra as not only are they the best in the business, but two years of free tickets, badges, beer mats and one personally signed Christmas card from the Communications team won’t repay themselves.

I am working three days a week which means I sadly won’t experience the delights of ‘Friday Wine’, but to make up for it, my view of the canal is simply breathtaking. Floating beer cans lodged in the inert sheet of green algae and the miraculous bird who walks on water gently drift by whilst I and try to fight off the Prêt-a-Manger cravings (there are two stores within five minutes walk). The atmosphere here is less stuffy office and more creative hub. The building is shared by other companies so there is a lively buzz in the foyer and the gallery downstairs makes a nice view whilst cruising down the escalator. Today’s tasks have included making myself acquainted with the large selection of communal tea, adding media to the new website and narrowly avoiding a wandering set of timpani so squeaky and cumbersome that it required an elevator (so THAT’s why we have one in the open plan office) to be transported from one level to the other! It’s been a pretty great day, the highlight definitely being answering the phone for the first time as ‘Natasha from the OAE’. There are some fab concerts coming up; looking at the orchestra’s schedule is like reading a list of my classical music highlights. First up – I can’t wait to hear three players giving The Star of Kings pub in King’s Cross some special OAE treatment at The Night Shift on Thursday night. Be there! Anyway, time has flown by and it’s now five thirty – home time! I think it is safe to say that day one has been a complete success. Shame about the Friday wine, but how many other interns get to meet Trevor Pinnock on their first day in the office?

Natasha Riordan-Eva, Communications Intern

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Edinburgh reviewed

Mon 5 Sep 2011

The OAE at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh

A couple of a reviews from our concert at the Edinburgh International Festival a couple of weeks ago:

“Vladimir Jurowski is having a devilish summer. Last month he was steaming through Liszt’s Faust Symphony with the London Philharmonic at the Proms, but here he was in Edinburgh to embark on the same sulphurous journey with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, of which he is a Principal Artist.

It’s a considerable challenge for a period orchestra to tackle the span and intensity of Liszt’s most grandiose philosophical statement. But the OAE stared down the demons — sometimes literally — with verve”  The Times

Full article (subscribers only)

“All in all, it was for me the most satisfying Usher Hall concert of this festival so far. They took a rarely performed work and made me wonder why; they took a frequently performed work and made it feel freshly minted. This was an evening filled with passion, drama and energy, one that frequently had me on the edge of my seat. “  Where’s Runnicles Blog

Full Article

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Name our interns! (AKA, we need an OAE Jedward please)

Fri 2 Sep 2011

So this afternoon our new Communications Interns, Natasha and Darren, are having their induction session, (i.e. where the coffee is and how the phones work).They’ll be with us for a couple of months and are sharing the ‘job’, doing 3 and 2 days a week respectively. We hope to give them a good insight into how the OAE works and how the marketing and press side of the office functions, and ultimately equip them with some useful experience for the future.

BUT we did realise this afternoon that we have a major problem. We already have someone in the office called Natasha. Who works in the Communications team. This could obviously cause huge confusion. Darren said therefore that they should have some kind of Jedward style of name (explanation here if you’ve been on Mars for the last year), i.e. a fusion of their two names, especially given they’re sharing the job (Jedward = John and Edward btw).

So, any suggestions? It may help to know their full names which are Darren Charlton and Natasha Riordan-Eva…the best suggestion will not only be used on a daily basis in the office but the inventor will also get an exciting range of OAE merchandise sent to them.

William Norris, Communications Director

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Rinaldo at the BBC Proms: Reviews

Wed 31 Aug 2011

Last week we made our annual appearance at the BBC Proms, as part of the Glyndebourne Prom, a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Rinaldo. Here’s what the reviewers and bloggers made of it:

Guardian

Music OMH

Classical Source

The Times (subscribers only)

Gramophone

Seen and Heard

There are some pictures from the Prom on the Proms Facebook Page here.

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Ceri gets phone rage…

Thu 25 Aug 2011

Phone rage

Da-da-duh-duh, da-da-duh-duh, da-da-duh-duh-duuuh

Brrrrr-brrrr, brrrr-brrrrr

No I’ve not gone mad, I’m just re-enacting all the interruptions from the bustling audience in San Sebastian on Tuesday night. Having experienced this in the UK a number of times (we all remember the infamous incident at the BBC Proms a few years ago, when the bassoon solo at the start of the Rite of Spring was interrupted by the Nokia ringtone – and the conductor very rightly decided to start the piece again!), we experienced Tuesday night that Spanish audiences have the same addiction to being contactable for 24 hours a day. Personally, I just don’t get why people can’t turn their phones off for the 2 hours of a concert – would you leave your phone on in the cinema?  Plus once you’d seen how embarrassed the first offender was when their phone went off after the opening of Weber’s Der Freischütz Overture, why wouldn’t you madly check in your bag that your phone was well and truly silenced?  This must have happened about 5 times yesterday throughout the entire length of the concert! (To be fair the woman behind me did this, and spent at least 5 minutes loudly fishing around in her bag for it).

Other than the rude interruptions I can confirm that it was a stunning concert, and the orchestra did a herculean job after what must have been one of the most shattering travel days in recent history (Very early flight to Bordeaux, 3 hour coach journey, straight into rehearsal, concert, brief sleep, 6am coach back to Bordeaux…)

Let’s hope the Edinburgh audiences on Friday leave their phones at home!!

Oh and while I’m at it, why is it always the Nokia Tune?!

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

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