I can’t quite believe it but I am leaving the OAE 3 years to the day after I started. The past three years at the OAE have been a complete whirlwind with the brilliant, vast and varied projects that we undertake here in the education department and the fantastic concerts that the Orchestra offer.Read More
Our Marketing and Press Officer, Matthew Grindon, responsible for a lot of the content on this website and on social media, left the OAE team last week for pastures new. We put our Exit Interview questions to him…Read More
On Saturday 12th October we took part in the annual Guardian event The Big Draw at Kings Place. Two OAE musicians; Katherine Spencer (clarinet) and Joanna Lawrence (violin), supplied the music for the ‘draw what you hear’ workshops.Read More
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
Continuing a partnership developed during our Anthem project last year, this April, OAE musicians Katherine Spencer, Katie Heller and Iurii Gavryliuk went to Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ), for a three day creative music course with disabled young adults and local secondary school students.Read More
One of the joys of working in OAE Education is the variety of projects you get to work on.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
So much happens in the OAE Education department and as it is just little old me, the only office-based member of the team, I hardly get any time to sit down and blog about what I’ve been up to. My track record of broken blog promises for Team Comms is horrendous but today, the first day of half term, I have a bit of extra time so I gleefully agreed to actually sit and complete a blog.
I want to tell you about all the wonderful things I’ve been up to this half term.
I’m going to start with my most frequent commitment – String Club – which dominates every Monday afternoon. Every week Nancy Cole (our Graduate Intern) and I head over to a local primary school to join OAE violinists teaching the violin. One of my favourite moments at String Club, in fact one of my favourite moments since joining the OAE, happened last week when the tutors decided to run a listening session based on the Four Seasons. Excerpts from Winter and Spring were played by Cathy Ford, Naomi Burrell and Holly Harman and the pupils were enthralled. It was magic to watch, seeing them watch their tutors completely in awe, as if they were Rock Stars. Baroque and Roll.
Another thing that happened this half term was my viol debut. When I joined the OAE, I never imagined that I would be sat in front of a class of 10 year olds with a bass viol, picking out a ground bass for a professional player. This is exactly the situation I found myself in at a Guardian Newspaper workshop where we invite classes from partner schools to Kings Place to interview an OAE player and write about them in a journalistic style. I’m particularly proud of the picture description (at the top of this blog).
To report everything else that has been going on in one article would take me into a small novel word count rather than a punchy blog but, to give a bit more information, this half term has included – Early Years work in Camden, live music in nurseries, the OAE Academy where young professional players receive OAE coaching, an amazing schools concert where about 350 pupils came to Kings Place to play with the Orchestra, coaching for youth orchestras and a newly formed early music group, Musicians on Call visits to nursing homes…
So this week I pause briefly to catch my breath but it isn’t really a break; it’s a chance to gear up for next week when we have a pre-concert event, a study day and performance and another schools concert – to name a few things. Phew.Read More
So this week, I’ve been charged with writing the Current Distractions blog. For those of you have haven’t caught any of these blogs yet, members of the OAE staff are asked to comment on artsy things that have caught their eye of late. So here are my current distractions…Read More
It is a widely known fact amongst those who know me that I can’t spell. I’m the person to play Scrabble against but always the last to be picked for a game of Cranium. I did warn the OAE in my interview that spelling was not my forte but as a competent computer user I get round it with the wonder of autocorrect and spell check and I hoped it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Clearly the warning wasn’t enough to put them off and they took a chance on me, bad spelling and all.
Some words come easier to me than others and while Enlightenment has never proved a challenge, somehow the Christmas Education project names always include a particularly Ellie-mind-block word.
A Seasonal Spelling Stumble, my Christmas Conundrum.
Last year our event was ‘Hallelujah Indeed’ and we filled the Royal Festival Hall stage with young singers and players performing Hallelujah inspired repertoire. It was glorious. In organising that event I had to write and type Hallelujah more than the average person does in a lifetime (it clearly wasn’t’ enough as I’m still stumbling over that word as I type this – Hall-e-lu-jah). This year, Hallelujah! I cried as I was told of our new project, ‘Joyous voices’. Sadly, my joy was short lived. Joyous. It’s that pesky second o that seems to evade me and as last year, in organising this event, I’ve spent a lot of time exasperated at my absent vowels and erroneous consonants.
However, in amongst my orthographic challenges I am really looking forward to Joyus (sic) Voices. During the pre-concert event we have members of the Foundling Choir and Foundling Community Choir accompanied by members of the OAE. All of this takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer at 5.45pm and we’d love to see you in the audience as there will be encouraged audience participation!
I hope to see you there and in the meantime, if anyone wants to make me up a mnemonic for joyous or hallelujah I’d be ever so grateful.
Ellie, Education Officer (the irony isn’t lost on me)
For your amusement, here are just a few of the words that I stumbled over during writing this:
Particulary – particularly
Avade – evade
Accopained – accompanied
Last Saturday we took part in the Guardian Big Draw, a really lovely day where families come to Kings Place to get involved in lots of different art activities. The OAE’s part in this day is always slightly abstract and I love the creativity that it generates. On a Big Draw day, two OAE musicians play duets and then have a range of drawing activities that anyone can join with.
This year we had Tony Robson on recorders and Rebecca Stockwell on bassoon and the activity sheets included: draw what you hear, draw the musicians, turning music notes and staves into something different or draw what the music makes you think of. Of course we also had the all-important blank pieces of paper for those who wanted no prompts but to simply sit and draw to the music.
The results from Saturday were spectacular. We covered a column in Kings Place in music inspired artwork – from quaver-cats to portraits of the musicians- the variety of creative output was brilliant. The day ended on a real high when Chris Riddell, who had given a talk to budding artists, came to draw our musicians, capturing them in his trademark way.
For me, I love asking young people to draw what they hear – you are either met with a very confused look or wide eyed enthusiasm; there are no right or wrong answers for this task. I also like the exploration of art in this multidiscipline way, plus being able to listen to OAE musicians playing duets all day is such a treat!
Finally, a lovely story that came to me as feedback after Saturday was from a mum who, on taking her children home, was asked if they could listen to more music to draw what they could hear. More drawing, more music, more art – that’s what it’s all about really!Read More
As part of the Kings Place Festival at the weekend, we hosted two TOTS workshops, led by violinist Hetty Wayne and bassoonist Rebecca Stockwell. Ticket holders were told to bring a hat as we were all going on a journey and our audience didn’t disappoint us, we saw many splendid hats during the day. My personal favourite was a full lion’s mane donned by an enthusiastic toddler, closely followed by a gloriously oversized homemade newspaper hat that was often put on dad for safe keeping.
During the workshops, Hetty led everyone on a magical adventure to discover more about the violin and the bassoon. The attentive audience were encouraged to sing, dance and join in with the music which included:
William Byrd Gipsies Round
Giles Farnaby Wooddy-Cock
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber Sonata Representativa
Henry Purcell Lillibulero from The Gordian Knot Untied
Arcangelo Corelli La Follia & Gavotte Tendre L’Abbe le Fils
Not only were we impressed by the brilliant listening from our audience of under 5 year olds but we were also very impressed at the excellent participation from Mums, Dads, Grannies and Grandpas (who had also bought their own hats)! My only regret was that I’d forgotten my hat, not that I can ever fit my hair under one…
Ellie Cowan, OAE Education OfficerRead More
Here’s a short video about the huge Anthem project that we undertook this year in OAE Education.Read More
You may have read about our adventures back in March where we took a 20-piece OAE orchestra around the country to deliver workshops and concerts under the banner Anthem for a Child. (If not, you are missing out: read about the cake, tandems, 5000 children, concerts and kettle bells here). The pinnacle of each concert was the performance of James Redwood’s ‘My Cry’ where the whole audience, consisting of local school children, sang along with the Orchestra. Filmmaker Joseph Bicknell filmed some of the work we did on our journey and has put together this amazing video which beautifully captures the spirit of the tour. This video features ‘My Cry’ recorded at our final schools concert in York. For me, this was one of the most beautiful moments of the tour as the children from York primary schools Dringhouses, Bootham, Heworth and Dunnington sang with such gusto the words echoed round the Jack Lyons concert hall long after the final note.
But don’t take my word for it… have a watch.
We are still doing plenty of work as part of the Anthem for a Child project, with lots of preparation going into our summer term performances. As well as a host of schools concerts for local London primary school pupils, we are busy preparing for a concert in June as part of the Spitalfields Festival. This concert will involve young performers from across the country who will join the OAE and ‘My Cry’ will be performed – I can’t wait to hear the final lines ‘I am here’ ringing out across the Old Market!
Ellie Cowan, OAE Education Officer
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)
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!
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
For those of us involved in education, autumn half term is a time to take stock. The first half of the new term has been and gone and pupils and teachers alike are just about back into the routine of waking up early, getting into school and being in class all day. As the crisp autumn leaves fall and the conkers ripen, the long days of summer seem like a thing of the past and during half term there is time to reflect on how things have changed.
I took up the role of Education Officer in September 2011 and like the pupils and teachers I’ve met during this half term, I’ve been adjusting to the new term; for me this has meant settling into a new job. Like moving from primary to secondary school it takes time in a new post to learn names, places and systems. I’ve been amazed at the variety of projects and concerts I have seen in my time here so far. From acting as a lion in a TOTS concert to listening to sixth form students play their Rinaldo inspired compositions I haven’t been short of adventures! Of course it is not just education projects that I have been a part of and seen, there are also the concerts. From The Night Shift to The Works to our Southbank concert series, I love the variety that the Orchestra delivers.
Finally, I have just managed to complete my first week entirely in the OAE office without any days out on projects – I can safely say that the office is a fun place to work as long as you contribute to the PFA (projects food area) and have a sense of humour about sausages. I’m a vegetarian but I bake, so I think one cancels the other. I’m starting to feel less like the new kid in the playground and more like part of the class…Read More