Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Not all audiences are the same: Greg and Annette

Fri Aug 3 2012

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"One thing that is always surprising to me is how beautifully the softest sounds carry." @houghhough talks preparat… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


We’re back with our audience/orchestra interviews. This time, OAE audience member Greg and OAE Viola player Annette Isserlis. Including, at the end, the photos that didn’t quite make the brochure…


Tell us a bit about you, your work and hobbies.

I’m Greg Mitchell, and I have worked in a wide range of different fields. I’m an actor, singer, dancer and now mostly writer and tantric masseur.

How did you hear about the Not all audiences are the same campaign?

Through a facebook friend. He said you were looking for ‘unexpected’ classical music lovers. I think it’s a great idea.

How was the experience of doing the photoshoot?

The shoot was a lot of fun. Annette and I got on really well and we had a lot of fun doing it.

Tell us about what you were wearing for the shoot.

Actually two different outfits, both of which are in my wardrobe. A leather gladiator outfit and a leatherman look – trousers, biker jacket, boots, Muir cap and mirror aviator glasses.

If you could pick one concert to see in our 2012-2013 season which one would it be and why?

Oh that’s a tricky one. Probably Haydn’s The Creation, but then I’d hate to miss Andras Schiff playing and conducting Mozart and Haydn and William Christie conducting an all Handel programme. And then there’s Sarah Connolly in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. No, sorry, can’t choose just one.

What’s the most listened-to track at the moment on your ipod (classical or non classical)?

Probably Callas’s 1949 recording of the Mad Scene from Bellini’s I Puritani – one of the most awesome pieces of singing I’ve ever heard. I’ve known the recording for over 40 years and still marvel at it every time I hear it.


Annette Isserlis

Tell us a bit about you, your work with theOAEand your hobbies outside of it.

I live in Kent with my husband, Ken Aiso and 4 rumbustious hens. I’m a founder viola member of OAE and have always relished the variety of repertoire, directors and venues. I particularly enjoy our residency at Glyndebourne, and monitoring the seasons’ progress on the rural journey. Together with Martin Kelly, I assisted in curating the 2012-2013 concert season, as well as producing the BBC Hidden Haydn chamber series in Bristol earlier this year. My musical activities outside of OAE include teaching (RCM, RNCM and RAM), producing recordings and music-arranging. Other interests have been extremely varied. I seem to get extremely enthusiastic about certain activities for about 3 years on average, and these have ranged (via all sorts of eccentricities) from getting a private pilot’s licence to gaining a hypnotherapy qualification! Ongoing enthusiasms are cooking and eating, drawing cartoons, theatre, and of course, the hens!

How was the experience of doing the photoshoot?

Reasonably bizarre and totally novel! When I turned up, the changing-room door was firmly closed for some time, and when a vision in a Spartacus outfit eventually emerged, I was uncharacteristically rendered speechless. In the event, the chosen photo featured Greg wearing something slightly less revealing! He kept me well-entertained, and I was impressed to hear of his versatile career having left GSMD! The indefatigable Eric (our photographer) was exhorting us to be creative with our poses, but it was the nipple-rings that defeated me.

Tell us about what you were wearing for the shoot. 

By contrast I was just wearing a black concert outfit, which showed off Greg’s plumage to perfection.

How would you describe the OAE to a friend? How is it different to other orchestras you might play in or listen to?

I think of OAE as a collection of strong personalities who have individual free-range tendencies, but are united by the commitment to our period instruments and what their timbres bring to concert repertoire.

What’s been your favourite moment to date playing with the OAE?

Can’t possibly single out just one, but personal peaks have included Ivan Fischer’s Beethoven Symphonies (notably the first time he did no. 5 with us), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with John Butt, Schumann’s Paradies und die Peri with Simon Rattle and all the Mozart we’ve done to date with Robin Ticciati.

If you could pick one concert to see in our 2012-2013 season which one would it be and why?

A toss-up between John Butt on November 22nd and Andras Schiff on February 25th (both QEH) because they are both musical heroes of mine!

What’s the most listened-to track at the moment on your ipod (classical or non classical)?

Believe it or not, I don’t possess an i-pod! However Herbie Hancock, Rachmaninov, Bach and Purcell are all extremely good cooking-companions.


Here are a selection of pictures of Greg and Annette, including some outtakes and the final picture used. As you can see we went with a slightly more conservative look for the brochure picture!

One Comment

  • the pic r great the camera luv u

    tisha Mon Aug 6 2012