Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Introducing the 19th Century Horn

Why play a new instrument when we make music for old instruments?

Our Principal Horn Roger Montgomery performs a section from Schumann’s showstopping Konzertstück for Four Horns, and introduces a new ‘19th century-style’ horn. This instrument has valves, which makes performing such challenging repertoire possible.

Hear it in our upcoming concerts with Sir András Schiff, also featuring Brahms’ blockbuster piano concertos.  Find out more

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Composers and space

Thu 18 Oct 2018

“For the same reason we are bound to believe that, as neither the beautiful neither the ugly is universal,” claimed the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1844. “Certain operas, which are every day represented and applauded (on Earth), will be hissed off the stage on Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus.”

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In depth: Marin Alsop on Schumann, madness and creativity

Sun 21 Feb 2016

Before our Marin, Music and Madness concert at the Royal Festival Hall in February, conductor Marin Alsop got together with journalist Jessica Duchen, musicologist Dr Robert Samuels and Director of Music at the Southbank Centre, Gillian Moore, to discuss whether madness and genius really do go hand in hand. Or does this notion misrepresent both creativity and mental health problems?

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Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)


His times: Schumann composed whilst the Romantic Movement was in full swing, when the popularity of virtuoso performers had become very widespread, and as a result much of his music requires a mastery of piano technique.

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The Piano Tuner

Mon 23 Nov 2015

‘What I do now, for these concerts, is make the sound beautiful.’

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Celebrating 200 years of the Royal Philharmonic Society

Thu 7 Mar 2013

Our concert this Friday marks, to the day, the 200th anniversary of the first concert given by the Philharmonic Society of London (later the Royal Philharmonic Society) which was set up in 1813 by a group of professional musicians with the aim “to promote the performance, in the most perfect manner possible, of the best and most approved instrumental music”.

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Name a concert: the results

Thu 6 Dec 2012

You may remember that we asked you for your suggestions for a concert title, for an event in our yet-to-be-announced 2013-2014 London Southbank Centre season. The concert features Brahms’ lyrical Violin Concerto in D and Schumann’s heroic Rhenish Symphony.

There were lots of great suggestions and we’ve picked out our favourite.

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Name a concert. Take two

Sun 25 Nov 2012


Ok, remember a while back we asked for your help in naming a concert?  Well as you’ll read from the previous blog, our plans changed, so here we are rerunning the competition….with a fresh new concert for you to name.

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New podcast

Thu 14 May 2009

So we decided to dip our toes into the world of podcasts with this trial one, during which you can find out more about the music featured in our concerts with Robin Ticciati next week (20 May at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and 23 May in St George’s Bristol). Let us know what you think!

OAE Podcast No.1

If you are so moved as to book tickets for the concerts you can do so here for London and here for Bristol.

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On tour with Sir Simon: Paris and the end of the tour

Wed 24 Dec 2008

SO – two weeks, six countries, nine cities, fifteen train journeys, five flights, nine coach journeys, one car journey, seven hotels, twelve concerts, twenty four symphonies, thirteen overtures, six Christmas markets, far too many chocolates, undisclosed quantities of beer and wine…and we’re on our way home.
Yesterday in Paris, the day was grey and damp. A huge box of heavenly chocolates greeted us as we stumbled into the murky gloom backstage. This semi darkness is typical of many backstage areas in concert halls all over the world, and at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees there was much entertainment to be had falling over lengthy clumps of cables, negotiating one’s way around scaffolding towers dripping with theatre lights, avoiding unstable stacks of chairs plonked at random in the dark and searching for a surface or floor space on which to place an instrument case.

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On tour with Sir Simon: Germany

Wed 24 Dec 2008

So, after reading all about the OAE’s last week in Europe it was now my turn to join the tour for the last few days.  Once again the orchestra found themselves on a charter plane, this time to Karlsruhe from Stanstead airport.  Having the charter plane was a sheer delight with a very smooth check-in and no other passengers within a mile of our boarding gate! (The rest of Stanstead was chaos!).  The Christmas turkey meal we were served on the plane was not so much of sheer delight, but filled a growling tummy all the same!

After a short transfer to our hotels, in Baden-Baden an hour to check-in and rest (?!), we were picked up and taken to the Festspielhaus for the rehearsal & concert.
It was dark by now, so didn’t get to see much of Baden-Baden ( so good they named it twice? Sorry had to get that in somewhere….) en route to the concert hall, apart from lots of white Christmas trees!

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Rattle Review

Wed 17 Dec 2008

The OAE concert with Simon Rattle last Tuesday was, for me, the highlight of the orchestra’s concerts in 2008. Following on from their performance of Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri last December, the orchestra has gone on to explore the symphonies of the composer.

As a music student we are often told that these symphonies, are clumsy, problematic and badly orchestrated. However, Rattle and the orchestra made these symphonies make perfect sense. The performances of the first and third symphonies were the most poetic I have ever heard in a concert hall. There was some very unique phrasing from the strings, which, though it may not have been entirely “authentic”, really made the music seem personal. The first symphony was full of exciting energy from the very beginning and was brought to a thrilling close, at no point did this seem too heavy and awkward. The third, the most famous in the cycle was full of contrasting characters and colours, and the sombre fourth movement was very chilling, and played with great poise and control from the orchestra.

I look forward to the orchestra’s next project with Simon Rattle!

Chris Rawley, OAE Student Representative

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Vladimir drops by…

Wed 10 Dec 2008

We had a surprise visitor at our afternoon rehearsal yesterday at the Royal Festival Hall, when Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski dropped by. He’d been rehearsing with the LPO in the morning so stayed on for our rehearsal with Sir Simon Rattle in the afternoon. Projects Manager Ceri Jones managed to get a quick pic on her phone (hence the quality!) of the two of them in conversation. Some of you may remember that about 2 years ago Vladimir conducted Schumann’s Symphony No.3, Rhenish with us, so maybe he was comparing notes with Simon.

The Orchestra has had a day off today and then we’re off to Brussels tomorrow on the 09.57 from St Pancras, look out for tour reports coming soon.

William, Marketing Director

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Our cultural minute

Mon 8 Dec 2008

We’ve been featured in The Daily Telegraph‘s culture minute video

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Rattle in Rehearsal

Fri 5 Dec 2008

Lots of excitement today here at our HQ, Kings Place, as we had our first rehearsals for our concerts with Sir Simon Rattle next week.

The ‘Schumann’ project has been on schedules for years now – certainly ever since I started here 4 years ago, so its exciting to hear it come to fruition. I sat in the rehearsal for the first thirty minutes, and even on a first run though it sounded pretty damn exciting – I got the ‘tingle’ factor! I was wondering while I sat there why Schumann’s symphonies aren’t better known – they started with the second symphony and it’s really good stuff, very stirring.

I managed to snatch a few pics before they started rehearsing – not that great quality i’m afraid, but I’ll try and get some more at the evening rehearsal. Don’t forget to check back here for more news during the tour.

If you’re curious to find out what the Schumann symphonies sound like you can here soundclips here and here.

Will, Marketing Director

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