Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Exit interview: Michelle Buckley

Fri 8 May 2015

Our Communications Trainee (also known as Marketing and Press Trainee), Michelle, leaves us today. Sad sad face. We got the 411 before she left.

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Natasha’s parting speed-interview

Wed 9 Nov 2011

Today it’s Natasha’s turn to tell us about her time at the OAE:


What’s been the highlight of your time with the OAE, either office life or performances (or both!)?


I know it is such a cliché, but there honestly have been so many great moments in my two months with the OAE that to pick one would not do the experience justice. A selection of highlights would definitely include:


– Robert Levin’s amazing Mozart. Three improvised cadenzas. Wow.


– The Young Conductor auditions – such a talented selection of people to choose from


– The Night Shift in a pub


– Raiding the PFA (refer to question 3)…


– Tracking down a drawing of Barbara Ployer for the Mozart concert. First and last time I shall speak to the head Professor at the Mozart museum, Vienna – in German (which I have never studied!)


– Chatting with members of the orchestra. Truly the most talented, down to earth, interesting people. I shall miss them very much.


– Presenting flowers on stage. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a stern voice in my head repeating ‘look elegant, don’t trip up’. Elegance achieved?  Not really. Did I remain upright? Yes. Success.


– Being included in so much creative work. Writing articles, suggesting ideas, cropping photos, raiding the OAE library for information on Beethoven, Berlioz and Mozart. Not your average tea making internship.


– The release of the Beethoven CD on the OAE’s new label, OAE Released. An amazing recording that is now available to buy on our new website.


-Spending time with the office. So many jokes, fun outings, and shared experiences. The office staff in three words: Wonderful, funny and positive.


What’s surprised you most?


How much the office and orchestral members work together; it really is such a joint creative venture. There’s nothing more exciting than feeling like you’re really making a contribution to such an important creative outcome.


What has been your favourite item to appear in the PFA?


OK, so this is a tricky question which has required a lot of thought. First of all, to clarify, the PFA is the Projects Food Area, a desk devoted to treats for office members to rifle through during the day. When the orchestra go on tour or an office/orchestral member goes on holiday, it is tradition to bring back an edible treat for us all to share. The PFA placed in the middle of the office (next to the Projects team) so there is no casual cake stealing. Everyone can see you. Everyone could see me. Taking ANOTHER biscuit…


My highlights


– Japanese pink sausage. Now complete with eyes.


– The bag of apples I put in during my first week. Clearly I didn’t understand that this area is for treats and TREATS ONLY.


– Maple syrup biscuits from Will’s holiday to Canada


– The ‘Big Katsu’


– Lastly, the two cakes to celebrate/commiserate the end of my internship. Thanks guys! 🙂


How would you sum up the OAE in three words?


Amazing, glorious and effervescent. Oh and amazing. Again.


What’s next for you?


I’m working at a couple of music festivals […]

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Darren’s parting speed-interview

Tue 8 Nov 2011

Darren Charlton

A couple of weeks ago we said goodbye to our two Communications Interns, Darren and Natasha. Before they left we asked them a few speedy questions. First up, Darren:


What’s been the highlight of your time with the OAE, either office life or performances (or both!)?

Realising my USP as an intern was climbing a big scary ladder for the Mozart posters!


What’s surprised you most?

How many times Will says ‘Amazeballs’ in the space of an hour.


What has been your favourite item to appear in the PFA?

Err, what’s PFA? 🙁

(Editor: It’s the ‘Projects Food Area’ where people deposit cake, biscuits and sweets for the office, most often after a holiday)


How would you sum up the OAE in three words or expressions?

They always give it 110 %

They make it their own!

4 yeses!


What’s next for you?

Stalking the canal outside your office for a job!



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Algae, cravings and no wine. Natasha’s first day

Tue 6 Sep 2011

Natasha Riordan-Eva

I’m Natasha, half of the new Communications Intern duo (my partner in crime being Darren Charlton, the Thursday-Friday man. We’re still looking for a good Jedward style name so have a look at suggestions on the previous blogand start thinking up your own ingenious ideas). I graduated in July from Bristol University so this is my first venture into the working world, away from the comforts of a student loan and 2pm starts. I worked as an OAE student rep during my second and third years and was eager to continue with the orchestra as not only are they the best in the business, but two years of free tickets, badges, beer mats and one personally signed Christmas card from the Communications team won’t repay themselves.

I am working three days a week which means I sadly won’t experience the delights of ‘Friday Wine’, but to make up for it, my view of the canal is simply breathtaking. Floating beer cans lodged in the inert sheet of green algae and the miraculous bird who walks on water gently drift by whilst I and try to fight off the Prêt-a-Manger cravings (there are two stores within five minutes walk). The atmosphere here is less stuffy office and more creative hub. The building is shared by other companies so there is a lively buzz in the foyer and the gallery downstairs makes a nice view whilst cruising down the escalator. Today’s tasks have included making myself acquainted with the large selection of communal tea, adding media to the new website and narrowly avoiding a wandering set of timpani so squeaky and cumbersome that it required an elevator (so THAT’s why we have one in the open plan office) to be transported from one level to the other! It’s been a pretty great day, the highlight definitely being answering the phone for the first time as ‘Natasha from the OAE’. There are some fab concerts coming up; looking at the orchestra’s schedule is like reading a list of my classical music highlights. First up – I can’t wait to hear three players giving The Star of Kings pub in King’s Cross some special OAE treatment at The Night Shift on Thursday night. Be there! Anyway, time has flown by and it’s now five thirty – home time! I think it is safe to say that day one has been a complete success. Shame about the Friday wine, but how many other interns get to meet Trevor Pinnock on their first day in the office?

Natasha Riordan-Eva, Communications Intern

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Get to know the OAE: Part 10

Thu 14 Apr 2011

This week, we chat to Georgina Cooksley about life as an intern with the OAE…

What’s your role in the OAE office?

I’m the graduate intern so I get to be involved in all parts of the OAE. Mainly I work with the Projects team organizing and planning concerts but I also liaise with the Communications and Development teams and help the Education team with string club (although I can’t actually play the violin…yet.)

What does your typical day involve?

No two days have been the same here and there’s always a new challenge. One morning I had to dash to the Barbican to deliver Sir Simon Rattle his Tristan and Isolde music and another I’m backstage at the QEH catching Nick Logie with the chocolates or giving out flowers on stage. Most days I’m in the office talking to the players’ on the phone, helping Megan with US visas and E101s, drinking coffee, fixing the photocopier and anything that pops up.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

I text message rather than call people, so the number I probably text the most is my friend Amanda. My mum would be a close second and it’s normally for cooking or cleaning advice.

What – or where – is perfection?

Lying on a beach with your feet buried in the sand, listening to the waves roll along the sand.

What’s your favourite ritual?

Oh dear, this is going to sound bad but I would have to say ‘Friday night wine.’ It’s more about celebrating the end of the week and having a chat and a giggle with your friends over wine. It’s especially good if it’s a New Zealand wine.

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My last day at OAE…already!

Fri 11 Mar 2011

For the last four weeks I’ve been in the OAE office working as the Communications Intern – and those four weeks have flown by! I’ve had a great time, mainly working in the Communications department, but I’ve tried to get an experience of how the orchestra works by going to as many events and meetings as possible.

The highlight of the four weeks for me was definitely the CPE Bach concert last Thursday, but everything about my time here has been enjoyable – especially meeting the players and members of the audience at events, but also the gossips over lunch, or a cheeky Nando’s, or the “PFA” (Projects Food Area – where all the biscuits and cake end up!)

I’ll be going back to Cardiff next week, as on Tuesday I go back to lectures for my Masters in Arts Management. However, I will be coming back up in May and June for the next Night Shifts – from what I’ve heard, they seem to be amazing events and I can’t wait to go to one, especially as I’m looking forward to having a boogie with some of the guys from the office – apparently, their dance moves are legendary.

I’ve learnt a lot about the orchestra, and about marketing in general, in my time here – but more importantly, I’ve had a fantastic time, made some wonderful friends, and gone to some amazing concerts for free!

David Hopkins, Communications Intern

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From Jurowski to Jurowski

Tue 25 Jan 2011

I am writing this on my final day here at the OAE. Firstly I should just explain the title ….on my second day here I got to accompany Megan to Glyndebourne to see Don Giovanni conducted by Vlad, and tonight on my last day is the fantastic concert in the RFH of Wagner, Liszt and Mahler again conducted by Vlad.

I have enjoyed my time here immensely, I was applying to the internship to find out all about ‘orchestra managing’, but have come away with knowledge about stage management, touring, visas, franking machines, rehearsals, lit stands, technical riders, Donor strategy, fixing, programming, recording, marketing, press interviews, the BBC, printing labels, playing the violin, making teas, folding music stands, running rehearsals, ordering bouquets, eating chocolates, evacuating Kings Place, and most of all un-jamming the photocopier.

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Get to know the OAE: Part 7

Tue 18 Jan 2011

This week, we speak to Ingrid van Boheemen in the OAE office about her time with the Orchestra (she’s leaving us this week :()

What’s your role in the OAE office?

The Intern (or The Office-Wide Resource)

What does your typical day involve?

Answering the phone, sending emails, updating the database, drafting schedules/contracts and pretty much seeing how everything works and helping out with everything!

Which mobile number do you call the most?

The musicians’….asking for E101 forms, sorry about that.

What – or where – is perfection?

Drinking riesling and eating fries at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland after a day at the beach.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

I really don’t have one, despite thinking about this for a very long time.

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OAE Internship opportunity!

Fri 29 Oct 2010

One of my tasks as the OAE intern, is to coordinate the application process for finding a new intern (sob!) If you, or anyone you know would be interested in applying please have a look on our website for all the details and information on applying. http://www.oae.co.uk/standard.asp?ID=48

Its such a fantastic opportunity and I can highly recommend the experience as a brilliant way to find out all about working in an arts organisation as well as clocking up valuable experience as you go. In just 3 months I have got to attend concerts, rehearsals, recording sessions, learnt about marketing, education and development and seen how to make an orchestra run smoothly first-hand, not to mention meeting all the incredible musicians!

The internship is really a diverse and special experience within such a diverse and special orchestra, so I really encourage you to spread the word!

Ingrid Van Boheemen, Graduate Intern

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Ingrid: One month in

Tue 17 Aug 2010

I can’t say I expected to have been to 3 such brilliant concerts within my first month as the OAE intern. The highlight of my first week here was trotting off to Glyndebourne to see how everything works backstage from the orchestra’s point of view. I had duly prepared myself by watching the recent BBC series about Gareth Malone putting together a youth choir for the Knight Crew opera, so I at least had an idea what it was all about. I had heard of Glin-de-born back in New Zealand (I purposely waited in my intern interview for Ceri and Megan to say it first) and knew it as one of the top opera places in the world, but didn’t realise it was in the country-side and in such a beautiful setting. Fortunately I was ushered into a free seat behind a tv camera about 10 seconds before it began and was able to watch the show.

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Being an intern at the OAE: 'Like every good boy scout, always be prepared'

Mon 5 Jul 2010

This Friday we’re going to be very sad to be waving goodbye to our intern Jo, who has been with us for the past year. Jo has mainly been working with the Projects team, but has also helped out with all the other departments too – helping out at String Club, helping the marketing team at Freshers Fairs and getting stuck in at fundraising events.  We’ll be reall sorry to see her go as she’s been completely brilliant. For the recent players newsletter she wrote a ’10 ten things I have learnt’, and here they are:

Like every good boy scout, always be prepared – whether it’s with a schedule so you can answer players questions, or a map so you know where you’re going You will be sent all over London running errands, but your local geography and knowledge of the underground will improve greatly as a result It is always useful to be able to wrap a bottle of wine beautifully (a skill I never quite acquired) It really is far more interesting to watch the canal wildlife than it is to do your work Always take the opportunity to go to Development events hosted by supporters of the orchestra – their houses are beautiful! Never yawn when sitting at the front of an ABO meeting, you will get caught Keep some spare make up in your bag on Southbank Centre concert days, you never know if you might be needed to present flowers on stage You will never stop feeling star struck by all of the amazing people you meet, like Sir Mark Elder and Sir Charles Mackerras It hurts a lot if you drop a timpani on your shin Enjoy every second, because it will be over before you know it!

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