Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Our Projects Director, Ceri Jones, is leaving the OAE for new adventures today (insert very sad expressions from the office team). Here’s a little last blog from her, with some of her highlights from her time with us. Ceri – you will be much missed!

I have had an amazing 10 years at the OAE, with some incredible memories which I don’t think I’ll be forgetting in a hurry.  Little did I know when I turned up at the OAE offices ready to start work as an Intern in July 2003  – a shy 21 year old music graduate – that 10 years later I would be sitting and writing this blog post!

I was asked to put together a list of highlights from the last 10 years.  I’m sure I have forgotten many a wonderful performance, project and tour, but here for your enjoyment is my personal trip down OAE memory and since I love writing lists (the project manager in me) I’ve collated a list of my top ten OAE memorable moments.

  • Theodora dress rehearsal, August 2003.  I’d been at the OAE about a month at this stage and it was my first concert and Glyndebourne experience rolled into one.  Was blown away by the music, the singing, the orchestra and the production.  Couldn’t quite get my head around the fact I was working for OAE (all be it as an intern at this stage)


  • Travelling to Venice in November 2005 to film Vivaldi’s Women with the BBC.  Carrying instruments across the lagoon in a boat, getting to know every nook and cranny of the Pieta church, exploring Venice in our free time… A fab experience all round.


  • The hideous Heathrow fog in December 2006 which almost thwarted our plans to travel to Madrid for the Messiah.  Not a musically memorable moment – but spending nearly 24 hours sitting on the floor of Heathrow Terminal 3 and ending up in charge of a spliced up group of the orchestra for the first time was a memorable experience (and yes we got there in the end).


  • Travelling to Minneapolis St Paul in January 2009 with the London Sinfonietta to perform Goebbels’ Songs of Wars I have seen.  An incredible new composition, coupled with the most craziest ’40 below’ freezing weather I have (and probably will) ever experience in my life.  The weather was the talk of the trip!


  • Our debut Night Shift at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse in January 2010.  Beethoven 7 with Vladimir Jurowski never sounded more exciting. Plus revelling in the fact we’d sold out the Roundhouse to a crowd of ‘youngsters’ who experienced the OAE’s performance that night.  Amazing.


  • Beethoven 5 with Ivan Fischer, RFH, March 2010.  I don’t know why this springs to mind so clearly.  I just remember being so excited listening to the interpretation by the orchestra and Ivan that I forgot to leave the auditorium when I was meant to, to get backstage to present the artist flowers.


  • September 2011 – our first trial Pub Night Shift gig at the Star of Kings in King’s Cross.  Subsequent gigs have actually been more successful than this one – it’s been a concept that’s grown and improved over time – but bringing the concept of an idea to fruition is just awesome.


  • March 2012 – travelling round the country with the OAE’s Education team on the Anthem for a child project.  Witnessing amazing concerts, engagement from so many children, being a chauffeur to the tandem cyclists and swinging a kettle bell 5000 times over the tour as my part of the challenge! Crazy.


  • November 2012.  This is one of those ‘moments’ rather than a whole concert.  Sarah Connolly and OAE’s faultless performance of Purcell’s ‘When I am laid’ from Dido and Aeneas in the QEH.  Sat about 4 rows from the front (a rarity for me since I’m usually backstage).  The words struck a particular chord with me that day and I found myself teary eyed at the end of the performance.  A beautiful rendition of beautiful music.  I love how music can evoke such emotions.


  • February 2012.  Vivaldi’s Four Seasons choreographed with Henry Oguike.  Just an fantastically creative project to work behind the scenes on!  Not to mention the outstanding finished project!  In awe of Kati Debretzeni’s agility round the stage whilst performing her socks off.

I shall miss the OAE.

PS: Follow Ceri and her passion for healthy eating on her Facebook Page or on Twitter

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