Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Composer

Beethoven

His times: In Beethoven’s late twenties, France overthrew its monarchy and a wave of rebellion spread through Europe. The composer, a devout Republican, was presented with an opportunity not only to change music, but to change the social standing of ‘the artist’. He did both: from the early 1800s, music would never be the same again, and historians increasingly concur that with Beethoven an era of the artist-hero was born that arguably still holds sway today.

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Gavin Edwards

Horn

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Gavin Edwards studied Horn with Anthony Chiddel and Classical horn with Anthony Halstead, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After graduating he was appointed as principal horn of the Orchestre Sinfonica de Tenerife. On his return to England he joined the Hanover Band in their recordings of Beethoven’s, Schubert’s and Haydn’s symphonies. From here he started to work mainly in ensembles specializing in “period performance” principally with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and, of course, the OAE.

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Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)

Composer

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His Times: Mahler said, ‘I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way,’ a quote that aptly captures the musical world that Mahler and his contemporaries were creating in 19th century Austria and-Germany.

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Claudio Monteverdi (1567 –1643)

Composer

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His times: Monteverdi set in motion the development of what we’ve come to know as opera.

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Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)

Composer

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His times: Schumann composed whilst the Romantic Movement was in full swing, when the popularity of virtuoso performers had become very widespread, and much of his music requires a mastery of piano technique.

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Francesco Cavalli (1602 – 1676)

Composer

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His Times: One of the most notable students of the famous Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli found himself pumping out operas in 17th century Venice, responding to the rising popularity of the genre (thanks largely to Monteverdi himself) and the appearance of more and more public opera houses.

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Margaret Faultless

Violin

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The violinist Margaret Faultless is one of the OAE’s four leaders and regularly directs the orchestra.

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Chi-chi Nwanoku

Double Bass

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Chi-chi Nwanoku is half the size of her double bass, yet has gained a reputation as one of the finest exponents of her instrument today. The eldest of five children from Nigerian and Irish parents, she was seven years old when she discovered the piano at a neighbour’s, who taught her to play a 12-bar blues. She returned to their house every day until the neighbour got so fed up that they wheeled the piano up the road and gave it to her as a gift!

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Andrew Watts

Bassoon

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Andy Watts began his music career playing medieval and renaissance instruments and clarinet at primary school in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, then took up the modern bassoon at the age of sixteen.

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Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)  

composer

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His times: Beethoven might have died six years before Brahms was born, but in a musical sense the former composer still dominated the landscape of the German-speaking world and beyond – and got inside Brahms’s head to quite a remarkable degree.

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John Holmes

Director of Marketing & Audience Development

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Hi, I’m John and I’m Director of Marketing & Audience Development at the OAE (saying all that is a mouthful I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to…)

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Ivan Rockey

Director of Finance & Operations

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I’m Ivan Rockey and I joined the OAE in 2014 as Director of Finance & Operations. I have a degree in Music from Oxford University, an MBA from the Open University, and I’ve worked in classical music for almost 20 years, including as Concert Manager of the English Chamber Orchestra, General Manager of Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and Executive Director of British Youth Opera.

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Emily Stubbs

Development Director

Emily Stubbs

Hi I’m Emily and I’m the Development Director at the OAE which means I run the fundraising team. I first worked for the orchestra when they performed Figaro at Glyndebourne in 1989. After that I worked at ENO, Wigmore Hall and the Royal Academy of Music before coming to the OAE 2 years ago.

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Martin Lawrence

Horn

Martin-Lawrence

Martin Lawrence has been the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s second horn since 1995.

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Annette Isserlis

Viola

Annette-Isserlis

Annette Isserlis studied at the Royal College of Music, where she now teaches historical performance on baroque and classical viola. 

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Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Composer

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His times: Elgar was born eight years before the Finn Jean Sibelius, a composer who like many others on the edges of Europe would become associated with musical ‘nationalism’.

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Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

Composer

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His times: Italy succumbed less readily to the excesses and experiments of the Romantic movement than most of her European neighbours, and the result – in a country whose musical life was dominated by opera in the 19th century – was a conservative attitude to the stage in which works tended to be divided into the ‘comic’ and the ‘tragic’ while not stretching far beyond established formulas and aiming for little more than short-term success.

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)

Composer

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His times: Charpentier was born in an aristocratic France where music was predominantly heard in the church and stylistically influenced by Italian and German models. Well-to-do Charpentier found himself studying law in Paris and eventually music – or perhaps it was painting to begin with, we don’t really know – in Rome. There he was spotted by the composer Giacomo Carissimi, who became his mentor. Back in France, Charpentier spent 17 years as court composer to Marie de Lorraine before working in a similar post for the Dauphin, son of Louis XIV and then as music master for the Jesuit order in Paris. Eventually he directed music at the Saint-Chapelle, the gothic chapel at the Palais de Justice.

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William Boyce (1711-1779)

Composer

OAE

His times: As was the case for most professional musicians at the time, the church shaped much of William Boyce’s early musical life. He sang at St Paul’s Cathedral in whose shadow he was born, before holding appointments as organist at a number of city churches and becoming Master of the King’s Music.

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Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns

Composer

OAE

His times: In his lifetime, and for many years thereafter, Saint-Saëns was viewed as an upholder of tradition – an arch-conservative with an intense interest in music of the past (much of which, including Bach, he revived for the first time in France). In truth Saint-Saëns was a progressive man, who proved instrumental in dragging the French musical establishment forward: away from the light opera it was so obsessed with and onto song and chamber music. But as a world-famous musician in the 18th and early 19th centuries, Saint-Saëns wrote across the board: operas, concertos, symphonies and instrumental, vocal and chamber music.

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