Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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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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Emily Stover

Communications Trainee

OAE

Hi! My name is Emily Stover and I’m the new Communications Trainee for the OAE.

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Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)

Composer

OAE

His times: Offenbach was sent from his native Cologne to study music in Paris, a city that was fast forging a reputation as the world capital of entertainment (risqué, populist and otherwise) and was, for much of the composer’s adult life, under the regime of the Second French Republic and Napoleon III.

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Jean-Phillippe Rameau (1683-1764)

Composer

Jean-Philippe-Rameau

The Man
Rameau was secretive about the first half of his life: it seems that he never imparted any detail of it to his friends or even to his wife. We know he was born in a family of musicians, that his father was his first teacher and that he worked as an organist in some churches, including the one in the Jesuit College where Voltaire was a pupil – a few years later he became the librettist of some of Rameau’s operas.

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Gillian Keith

Soprano

GK

Many thanks to Gillian, who performed with us yesterday at the Chipping Campden Festival.  What resulted was a glorious performance, on an equally glorious Bank Holiday Monday. 

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Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

Composer

Verdi

Himself: Despite his innate musical ability (he began studying music at the age of three), Verdi’s application for the Milan Conservatory was rejected due to his lack of piano technique and discipline. In 1839, he moved to Milan and he had his first success with Nabucco and also his first failure, with the comedy Un giorno di negro. He only composed one other comedy in his career: Falstaff, his last opera.

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Ellie Cowan

Education Officer

Elli-Cowan-Photo

Hi, I’m Ellie, the Education Officer for the OAE.  Thanks to the range of projects we deliver in the Education Department, my day-to-day job can be very different.  From booking players and rehearsal spaces, liaising with schools to organising workshops or trips to the concert hall, collating and organising music for projects, compiling and creating resource packs or pastoral care at our weekly string club, no day is the same. 

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Gavin Edwards

Horn

gavin edwards crop

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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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Composer

vivaldi

Vivaldi/The Man
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice.  He was baptized immediately after his birth by the midwife, which led many people to believe his life was somehow in danger.  The real reason is still not known for sure, some argue it was due to ill health while others state that an earthquake the same day led his mother to be in constant fear for her son’s life.  As a result, Vivaldi’s mother dedicated him to the Priesthood.

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Andrew Watts

Bassoon

Andy-Watts-with-bassoon

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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Lisa Sian

Finance Director

Lisa-Sian

I’m Lisa the Finance Director and Company Secretary and I started with the OAE way back in July 2003.

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Katy Bell

Press Manager

Katy-crop

Hi, I’m the OAE’s first in house Press Manager, and I’ve been here since 2009, working Monday to Wednesday. 

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Cherry Forbes

Education Director

Cherry crop

Hi I’m Cherry and I’m the OAE’s Education Director.

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Judith Bingham (born 1952)

Composer

JB © Patrick Douglas Hamilton

Her times: Composers of our own time are freer than they have ever been before; free to pursue whatever stylistic paths they like and by whichever means – and largely without fear of discrimination due to race, gender or age. But that comes with its own complications, notably the increased need to write music that serves a purpose and punches through (live or through speakers and headphones) in an age full of noise where much creativity is built on commercial imperatives.

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Tansy Davies (born 1973)

Composer

Tansy Davies © Maurice Foxall

Her times: For the generation of composers who have come to creative maturity since the turn of the millennium, there are no longer any rules and the idea of musical ‘genres’ is eroding fast too. A composer can write on paper, on an instrument or on a computer. The act of composition might be one and the same as the act of performance. You might have trained at a music college or in a rock band.

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Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Composer

Faure

His times: Fauré lived through a changing France, born into an entrenched tradition but witnessing the arrival of new trends and the shifting of the creative vanguard from Vienna to Paris. Though these changes were largely realised by the generation after Fauré, in a sense he paved the way for them by radically overhauling the country’s musical education system as director of the influential Paris Conservatoire.

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Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Composer

ravel

His times: Like his colleague and compatriot Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel was active at a time when the epicentre of musical activity in Europe was moving from the Austro-German cities of Vienna and Berlin to the French capital. Led by a Paris on the cusp of Modernism, musical priorities were changing too. Suddenly beauty was a priority and the ‘development’ of musical themes wasn’t.

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Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Composer

debussy

His times: Debussy’s career straddled one of the most fascinating periods in music history: the dusk of Romanticism and the emergence of Modernism. Music was becoming less a harmonious, evolving journey of mutual learning and agreement and more an outright battle between opposing ideologies.

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Elizabeth Kenny

Lute/theorbo

Elizabeth-Kenny-crop

Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (Independent on Sunday) and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post).  In twenty years of touring she has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making.  She is a principal player and initiator of seventeenth century projects with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

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