On the 12th October this year, the OAE Education department will be taking part in The Guardian’s annual Big Draw. This is a fantastic event which aims to encourage art for all the family, with artists leading workshops and activities that all ages can get involved in. The OAE have been involved in this day for several years and we are delighted to be part of the exciting project once again.Read More
Last weekend we embarked on a first for the Education Department – a training and concerts tour for young people. This tour was a celebration of three years’ work across our four partner London boroughs – Camden, Wandsworth, Merton and Islington – with whom we’ve developed many projects to give young people opportunities to work with members of the OAE.Read More
Education Director Cherry Forbes discusses her time at the Beverley Early Music Festival.Read More
The inspiration for the OAE’s Anthem project came from watching David Walliams complete a sponsored cycle ride, from one end of the country to the other, about five years ago. It made me think how could we pass the baton in sound? How could we unite our partner cities in a large scale project and invite new cities to join the OAE community, through baroque music?Read More
We had great fun in our OAE Tots go Strings concert on Saturday and hope you did too. If you’d like to know a bit more about what we played, read on:
Most of our concert was made up of Telemann’s Don Quixote pronounced ‘Don Keyshot’. See what we did there with our donkey theme! This is a wonderful suite (collection of short pieces) by Telemann based on the 17th century Spanish story. A while back, Richard Strauss was credited with writing programme music depicting stories in music, but you can see Telemann was at it about 200 years earlier.
This story is about the adventures of Don Quixote on his horse Rosinante, accompanied by his peasant squire Sancho Panza on his mule (that donkey theme again). Telemann’s pieces are titled Overture, The Awakening of Don Quixote, His Attack on the Windmills, His Amorous Sighs for Princesse Dulcine, Sancho Panza is Mocked (tossed in a blanket), The Gallop of Rosinante, The Gallop of Sancho Panza’s Mule, Don Quixote at rest.
Donkey crept through the woods to part of the ‘Surprise’ Symphony by Haydn (second movement) and Teddy Bears’ Picnic was an arrangement by one of our own OAE viola players, Annette Isserlis.
The presenters for this concert were Cecelia Bruggemeyer and Susie Carpenter-Jacobs. And special thanks to our very willing and enthusiastic Education Officer Ellie Cowan, for her donkey work.
We look forward to seeing you again at future events. Check out our Education pages for events coming up soon.Read More
We hope you enjoyed our OAE TOTS go Wind today- it was fabulous to see so many music makers at Kings Place on a snowy Saturday morning!
If you grown-ups would like to know what you heard and maybe listen again at home, here’s a list of some of the music we played:
Anon (songs) Wind, wind, blow the clouds/Rock-a-bye baby
Vilano Ground bass
Corette Rondeau from Sonata 1 Op. 2
Philidor Marche de La Calote
Keller 3rd movement from Sonata in C
Engels Nachtigall or Bird Fancyer’s delight
Handel Country Dance from Water Music
Purcell Wondrous Machine
Bach Sinfonia from Christmas Oratorio
If you’d like more information about OAE Education and future TOTS concerts, visit our Education section.Read More
As Ceri explained in her last blog post, as part of our huge Anthem for a Child project we asked OAE musicians and staff to pledge to walk, run, cycle or do something else tiring for a mile per project participant, totaling 5000 miles altogether.
You can support them by sponsoring us through our JustGiving page or by sponsoring players individually via the links below. All pledges will completed by June.
Here’s a few highlights of what they’ve been up to:
Sue Addison committed to walk 40 marathons with her plastic trombone – and her dog!
She joined the Anthem tour and wrote a new fanfare for each setting with pupils which she then played when she undertook her marathon round their city or town (1040 miles)
Ceri Jones, OAE Projects Director, did 500 Kettle Bell swings for 10 days.
Donate directly towards Ceri’s Swings
James Redwood (Composer and animateur), Matthew Truscott (violin), Jonathan Rees (‘cello) and James Toll (violin) cycled the tour between them on a tandem (1142 miles)
Zoe Shevlin (bassoon) (and her husband) will walk round all the outdoor pools in London and swim a length in each (52 miles between them)
Donate directly to Zoe & Charlie’s Swim
Stephen Carpenter (OAE Chief Executive) is going to swim a marathon (26 miles)
Roger Montgomery (horn) will run the London Marathon for Children’s hospices and will run the length of the tour in his training for us- since 1 Jan, he has built up a total of 1141.71 miles!
William Norris (Communications Director) will walk to or from work 2 days a week for 10 weeks (60 miles)
Cherry Forbes (Education Director) will walk, cycle and swim (100 miles)
Donate directly towards Cherry’s 100 miles
Katie Heller (viola) will dance 50 miles
Andy Watts (bassoon) will cycle from Elgar’s birthplace in Lower Broadheath to his burial place in Little Malvern and back again (30 miles)
Hilary Stock (oboe) will run 1000 miles
Tony Robson (oboe) will lose 26 pounds!
Andy Painter, teacher from Torpoint Primary, walked 103 miles (in 48 hours!)
Support Andy directly
Deborah Rees, Deputy Head of Camden Music Service , will complete 240 miles with her walking group to be completed in May
For a full run-down of Musicians’ Miles, click here.
You can also see pictures taken on tour by one of our horn players, Gavin Edwards, on our Flickr page.
Unbelievably, the last day of the Anthem tour has arrived and we find ourselves in the beautiful city of York. As it was the final day we had to go out with a bang and so had organised a complicated day starting in the University and ending in the National Centre for Early Music. Today we performed two concerts, the first one was our ‘normal’ afternoon schools concert, where four local primary schools joined us and the second concert was a public concert where York University students joined us and played and sang alongside the OAE.
It was a big day with the Jack Lyons Concert Hall providing the perfect setting for our last schools concert of the tour. The battle scene was the most elaborate performance yet – I was wondering how they were going to top the theatre performance, but they did – the woodwind and brass got involved with the (string only) performance by using their instruments as pretend weapons. The improvisation battle was also very intense with Martin Lawrence (horn) competing against Ken Aiso (violin) in a copying contest – I don’t know if you could say who won, but a stunning performance was given by both! The pupils from Bootham, Dringhouses, Heworth and Dunnington schools were simply fantastic in their rendition of Twangling Instruments and My Cry. We were all quite emotional at the end of their performance where 300 voices rang out “I am here!”
The evening concert was a slight change of pace from the schools concerts we have been delivering and was a lovely way to complete the tour. We were joined by university students and gave a performance of Bach’s Wachet Auf and Vivaldi’s Gloria. The whole night was finished by a final performance of My Cry, where we invited the youngest member of the audience – Kate, a 4 year old pupil who had learnt the piece for the Schools Concert, to join the choir and sing with us. Ceri and I even went up on stage for a final sing and it felt brilliant!
So that was the end of the tour, I have had a simply fantastic time and felt incredibly privileged to witness all the wonderful work of everyone involved.
Also, today marked the end of the tandem ride – over 700 miles completed alongside 11 concerts – a truly incredible achievement. I think all tandemers were quite sad it was over! It’s not over though, well the bike ride is, but we still have a London concert to go, plus the summer term Anthem projects, so watch this space!
A tired but happy, Ellie Cowan, OAE Education Officer
You can also watch a video of the York concert here.Read More
On Sunday evening we drove from Bury St Edmunds to Chesterfield after the terrific family fun day at the Apex Centre. You know you are approaching Chesterfield when you see the crooked church spire that punctuates the skyline. This magnificent landmark can be seen from the motorway and I was instantly reminded of a picture that hangs on the wall at my parents house of a painting of a town with a church that has a crooked spire. All these years I had assumed the church with a crooked spire was artistic licence, only to discover that it is real and we were performing right next to it in an equally picturesque theatre!
Now, it is no secret that I have a bit of a thing for the theatre and the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield was such a sweet charismatic setting for our 9th Anthem concert. Whilst setting the stage for the Orchestra, Ceri and I managed to take a couple of jazz hands photos (I mean, it would be rude not to, we were in a theatre) in amongst the stands and harpsichord (see below). The stage was set ready for the OAE but this concert was slightly different in that we were joined by the ukulele orchestra from Newbold Secondary School. The pupils sat on stage behind the Orchestra and performed a piece they had created – Pachelbel’s canon mixed with Britney Spears! The theatrical surroundings were perfect for this new remix and the performance of this piece was a fantastic precursor to what we can expect to develop in the summer term as part of the Anthem project.
As well as Newbold Ukulele Orchestra, we were blessed with a fantastic audience of children from four local Chesterfield schools who performed Twangling Instruments and My Cry with great aplomb. Naturally, with the Orchestra being on stage in a theatre, the players acted even more outrageously during the Biber Battallia performance and I dread to think what will happen tomorrow to outdo this performance!
The cyclists also had a very dramatic day with the second tandem of the tour breaking mid journey – this time the gears went. Trepid tandemers Jonathan Rees and James Toll valiantly rode on with only 3 gears working and made it to the theatre with about 45 minutes to spare. The bike then had to be taken to be fixed so Jonathan heroically cycled the tandem (solo) to a bike shop (about 2 miles from the theatre) and explained the challenge and the time frame (they had about an hour to fix it while he played a concert). Jonathan made it back to the theatre with only a few minutes to spare before the start of the concert. Luckily for us, J E James Cycles rose to the challenge and had fixed the bike by the end of the concert ready for the next big ride- Chesterfield to York-with an overnight stop in Thorne.
After such a theatrical day, it was with a little sadness I waved goodbye to the crooked spire of Chesterfield but I look forward to the beautiful city of York and all it has to offer tomorrow.
Ellie Cowan, OAE Education Officer (written on Monday 26 March)
The Anthem bloggers have returned to normality, after an amazing tour ended with a sell out concert in York on Tuesday evening. We’ll be looking back at the tour and the last concerts very soon but for now, Beni Weedon tells us about his day in Bury on Sunday 25 March:Read More
One of the bigger problems musicians face is finding slots of time when we are all free to rehearse for chamber concerts and so on.
So, when Cherry Forbes, OAE Education Director, asked Double Bassist Cecelia and me to put together a programme of music for an education project in Plumstead, Cecelia had a brainwave – we would see if the 21st century had the answer to this old problem.Read More
The Anthem tour is nearing its end and Ellie and her blogging team are hard at work, but haven’ t been able to send us their updates these past few days due to the lack of internet access (I know…in this day and age!?)
We’ll have their blogs up as soon as we get them, but in the meantime, here’s some pictures from the Family Orchestra Fun Day at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.
There are still a few £5 tickets left for tonight’s concert at the National Centre for Early Music in York where the OAE and students from the University of York join forces for the celebratory final concert of the tour. The programme will include Bach’s Wachet Auf, Vivaldi‘s Gloria and James Redwood’s two specially commissioned pieces, Twangling Instruments and My Cry. For more details and to book, click here.Read More
Natasha Stehr, OAE’s Marketing and Press Officer, ventured out of the office on a gloriously sunny Friday for the next Anthem for a Child concert in Hastings. Here’s what she made of it:Read More
For those of us travelling in cars this morning started in the “normal” way: hotel in Southampton, morning workshops in schools or training at Southampton University with students.
For two of the cyclists, Matthew Truscott and James Toll, the morning started in Devizes with a 50 mile bike ride to Southampton ahead of them. A daunting task to most of us, but not our tandem riders… Not only did they arrive in plenty of time for the 1.30 concert but they squeezed in a quick swim in the River Test along the way!
The afternoon concert at Turner Sims was terrific; we were joined by OAE theorbo player, Liz Kenny who added a fantastic new timbre to the concert – my favourite was her additions to Biber’s Battalia which gets more elaborate at every concert – the orchestra have taken to acting out the battle while playing – with extra vigour and drama every day
The children from Portswood Primary and St Mary’s in Southampton were brilliant, they listened very attentively and they had learnt their songs to perfection. They all performed beautifully with amazing enthusiasm to parents and the Orchestra. On the door on the way out, as with all the concerts so far, I am overwhelmed with the infectious smiles of pupils as they file out into the sunshine.
Tomorrow (now today by the time you are reading this) we are performing in Hastings, and the cyclists have a journey from Worthing to Hastings to complete before going on stage! Maybe they’ll have time for a quick dip in the sea…
If you would like to sponsor the cyclists and the project please check out our just giving page:Read More
It’s been quite hard to decide what to write about tonight. I sit here in my hotel room in Southampton after completing a busy day in Wiltshire, reflecting on my ever-changing geographical position thanks to this tour. It is starting to get a bit surreal, good surreal, but surreal none the less.
I was thinking it would be good to share what a typical day on the Anthem tour is like, but the beauty of this project is that each day is different to suit the setting. Today in Wiltshire we performed two Anthem concerts – one concert at the Wiltshire Music Centre then one at St Andrew’s Church, Chippenham. Prior to the concert, there were school workshops and teacher training and post concert we travelled to Southampton. Well, most of us did, the cyclists set off on some of the route with the intention of completing the next half of the journey tomorrow.
Both the concerts today have been pretty special; in the first concert every single child played with the Orchestra during ‘Twangling Instruments’ which truly musically characterised the words from Shakespeare’s The Tempest that inspired the song: “Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears” and the second concert where 300 children sang ‘My Cry’ in the most amazing setting, I hope the picture will convey the magnificence of the occasion – I had goosebumps and I spotted a few teary parents in the audience.
Tonight I am happily tired (although l haven’t done any cycling so can’t complain!) and so am gratefully retiring to bed wondering what tomorrow has in store for me on this brilliant adventure.
Ellie Cowan, OAE Education Officer
Don’t forget- we do have a few Anthem concerts that you can be part of:
We have tickets available for just £5 for the family concerts in:
The Apex, Bury St Edmunds: 25 March Booking/details
National Centre for Early Music, York: 27 March Booking/details
For full information on the Anthem tour and to watch a video about the project, visit our website.Read More
Yesterday was day two of the Anthem tour and here’s an update from Beni Weedon in Totnes, Devon:
The Orchestra spent last night by the sea in Paignton – several of the more adventurous players even braved the night air for some beautiful walks along the coast.
We had some very encouraging sessions this morning with students from no less than eleven schools (!!!), all of which sang with such enthusiasm and helped to bring today’s concert to a wonderful and successful completion. One morning session featured the William Tell Overture played on the teachers teeth. At another, the whole class was primed by a tactical viola player (overlooked in previous concerts) to answer ‘Viola!’ when asked to spot an instrument in the concert – thus ensuring an awareness raising policy in the Totnes area schools for this dark horse of an instrument.
Today another even longer (64 mile) tandem journey was launched just after the afternoon concert and the intrepid (mad) duo were even reported as ‘smiling and looking quite chirpy!’ as they were passed on the way to the new lodgings in Wiltshire.
We’ve also had some updates from OAE Musicians that have pledged to our Anthem for a Child project:
Roger Montgomery (OAE horn player) who since 1 Jan has completed a total of 1141.71 miles, including:
Running 405.34 miles, cycling 546.38 miles, spinning 162.64 miles, rowing 18.6 miles, walking 6.2 miles, swimming 2.55 miles (he’s burned approximately 91,497 calories so far!)
Debbie Diamond (OAE violin) has completed 8.7 miles of swimming so far (out of 26) and has beaten her personal record by managing 90 lengths in 66 minutes.
Hilary Stock (OAE oboe) is halfway there – running her 500th mile on 29 February. She says that after taking part in some Anthem concerts and seen how enthusiastically the children responded and participated in the music, it feels all the more rewarding!
See a gallery showing all the hard work our musicians have put in
To find out how you can help, click here.
Today began yesterday evening with the packing of the cycle bag. Tyre pumps were weighed, lights were measured for brightness (and number of different flashing settings). The Hotel Foyer was in fact a very convenient place for the cycling team to empty various bags and rucksacks filled with tools and miscellaneous gear onto the floor ready for the tactical decisions of what should be taken or left behind. With maps, lycra and lights-a plenty the cycle team (Matt Truscott, James Redwood, James Toll and Jonathan Rees) were raring to start their adventure – cycling the Anthem tour – but one key thing was missing… the tandem itself.
With one tyre, a saddle and a set of handle bars there was a chat about what would happen if the famed tandem never arrived; a Monty Python-esque scenario would surely ensure… Luckily, Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive of the OAE, arrived at our first education concert with him the much discussed mode of transport – to the delight and relief of the aforementioned cyclists.
After delighting and entertaining over 400 pupils from Plymouth primary schools, the OAE Anthem Orchestra merrily waved off the first two brave cyclists (Matt and James R) on their first leg of the tour, Plymouth to Totnes.
And why are we doing this? Why did we happily wave off the leader of the Orchestra and the composer of the new commissions? Well, James and Matt are clocking up the miles for our Musicians’ Miles part of the tour – a mile of activity for everyone who gets to see this concert – 5000 children/5000 miles. Find out more here.
This evening we have heard that the cyclists have safely arrived in Totnes and are happily relaxing before tomorrow’s adventure.
And I am running out of time and space, there is so much more to tell you about that has happened today – a car of cajons, an early morning radio interview, a HUGE cheque for the orchestra (you know, the kind you only see on the telly), an awe-inspiring teacher who walked 103 miles in 48 hours and a chair being played as a horn. I’ll save that for another blog, but these pictures might help you imagine what is going on.
Ellie Cowan and Beni Weedon - South West Music School Student Ambassador
(writing on 19 March after the first day of Anthem)
Alfie Weedon (South West Music School Young Ambassador) also wrote us a blog about his first day:
Cherry (Oboist for the OAE) and I (Double Bassist and Young Ambassador) met at 6.30am this morning for the 7am BBC Radio Devon slot. I, having not really woken up relied entirely on the word “absolutely!” for answering questions (well it’s got to be better then just “yes” right?) while Cherry, with her complete and detailed knowledge of everything about the tour answered all the important questions.
They do say that knowledge is power but it also has its disadvantages, demonstrated by the fact that Cherry, as of 9pm is imposing a 50p fine for any questions!
Today was the launch of the Anthem for a Child project with 1500 children singing at the Albert Hall as well as our double performance in Plymouth today involving 5 local primary schools! Although I knew better what [...]Read More
Our huge Anthem for a Child tour kicks off today in Plymouth, where we’ll be visiting schools for workshops in the morning and then off to the Devonport Guildhall for a concert in the afternoon.
OAE Education Officer, Ellie Cowan will be blogging for the whole tour and here’s her first post:
“Today started in more style than I am accustomed to; I was picked up from my house by OAE Projects Director, Ceri Jones in our swanky hire car. Luckily we’d been upgraded and had an estate car because we soon filled it with all one needs for a week and a half long education tour – music, stands, paperwork, luggage, laptops, paper, scissors, glue, hoodies, stickers, a filmmaker, his equipment, and most importantly, cake.
This tour has taken a lot of preparation and I have been using the Anthem logo since starting with the OAE in September, therefore, it seemed only right to have an on-brand cake for the start of tour… a challenge that I gladly set myself. So, after many hours of cutting icing and sprinkling edible glitter (I work in education you see), I came up with quite an amazing cake which then had to sit on my knees on the 4 hour trip to Plymouth…”
Also make sure you watch out for the four OAE musicians who’ll be touring by tandem between each venue- starting today from Plymouth to Totnes and overall, covering 571 miles!
It was the day after our wonderful series of Berlioz Romeo and Juliet concerts had finished. Our final, and very successful concert, had been in Paris, involving a day trip there and back on the Eurostar. We even had time for lunch, though probably at a faster speed than the French would approve of.Read More
So it might be a little early for this seeing as it isn’t quite Christmas yet, but, looking ahead to the New Year, here is my OAE New Year resolution: I will be a better blogger.Read More