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Our top moments of 2011…

Tue Jan 3 2012

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It’s time for our yearly feature where we ask OAE staff and musicians what their top moments of the past year were, so here we go – and feel free to add your top moments to the comments!

“As always with OAE events when you think back over the year it’s SO difficult to pick a clear winner – it could be Matthew Truscott’s gruesome description of how gut strings are made, which had hundreds of children squirming on the edge of their seats in our school’s concert in King’s Lynn; – it could be the incredibly warm reception we had in Keswick where the audience are really hungry for live concerts; but I think in the end it’s a tie between playing for the first time under the baton of Adam Fischer in an exciting and spontaneous Fidelio (the Prisoner’s Chorus in particular was incredibly moving), and the Haydn symphonies with Sir Simon Rattle at the Royal Festival Hall. As always with Rattle it involved digging deep into ourselves and the music, and for me it involved a personal triumph: over-coming the vertigo that came with being, unusually for me, right on the edge of our highly raised platform and managing not to throw myself off the stage.”

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

“This may not seem that positive, but then perhaps it is… my top moment of 2011 was landing at Heathrow airport at 2.15pm on Sunday 25th September. That seems like a pretty precise moment, but it was the end of the busiest summer we have ever known at OAE. I’m in charge of all the orchestra’s touring and it was so good to know that since June we had managed to successfully get an orchestra of up to 90 people around Europe and put on concerts in Luxembourg, Paris, Dublin, London, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, the Proms, Edinburgh, Warsaw, Eisenstadt, Warsaw again and Bucharest!”

 Megan Russell, Projects Manager

“Well, 2011 has been a pretty eventful year so it’s REALLY hard to pick my top moment- sitting (almost) next to Madonna in our 21 June concert with the Labeque sisters is almost up there, but I think the best moment was sitting in the Village Underground on the 24 June- listening to my favourite singer, Elin Manahan Thomas singing some beautiful arias at The Night Shift, with an gin and tonic.  Perfect.”

Natasha Stehr. Marketing and Press Officer

“Difficult to choose from three instances of being with the Orchestra in towns or cities where three leading composers were born: Handel in Halle in Germany; Mozart in Salzburg in Austria; or Chopin at Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw.  But I think I’ll go for Chopin as I visited his birthplace on a beautiful summer day in late August and had a good look round the manor house, including the very room where he was born, as well as the church in the next village where he was christened.  I then went back to Warsaw to hear the OAE performing both Chopin Piano Concertos with Yulianna Avdeeva as soloist.  Altogether a special and privileged experience.”

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive

“My top moment of 2011 was watching Maggie, Matt and Robin play our very first Pub Night Shift to a very crowded and sweaty full house at the Star of Kings Pub in King’s Cross last September.   A small event with just 3 players and to a modest capacity of 200, but larger in so many more ways with what was achieved.   The Pub Night Shift concept is now officially on the map!”

 Ceri Jones, Projects Director

“Although I started at OAE part-way through the year, I already seem to have had a number of great highlights. In my first week, I got to see the Orchestra perform Rinaldo at the Proms, which was great fun and featured some incredible harpsichord improvisation by Ottavio Dantone. But I think the moment that stands out for me was Roger Montgomery playing the Weber Concertino for Horn and Orchestra at the QEH in November. As a brass player myself, it was a great chance for me to see how versatile brass instruments can be – even without any valves.”

Steve Rock, Finance Officer

“Watching Rinaldo at the Albert Hall was just fabulous. The Orchestra with Ottavio Dantone were an unstoppable force and the way that the singers interacted with them all was just hilarious!”

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager

“As ever, pretty hard to pick. Chaperoning Madonna to her seat at our concert with Simon Rattle was definitely one of the weirdest moments…Other highlights would definitely include our Mahler, Liszt and Wagner concerts with Vladimir Jurowski, I love hearing the OAE playing big repertoire like that, and concerts with Vladimir are always special. The Beethoven 7 with David Zinman was also amazing – incredibly exciting performances, real edge of seat stuff, and I also got to discover a great new venue while on tour with the Orchestra, Sheffield’s beautiful City Hall. Lastly, the Night Shift in a pub. Just fantastic to be in a packed sweaty pub listening to classical music, with the audience inches from the musicians. Can’t wait for the pub tour to start now! Oh, and launching the new website after a lot of hard work – such a relief!”

William Norris, Communications Director

One Comment

  • Rinaldo was great. I had a wonderful seat near the stage, so I felt very much part of the action. I always love the immediacy and verve of the OAE. I have also enjoyed your performances at the Royal Opera House.

    Susie Cassini Wed Jan 4 2012