Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Our top moments of 2011…

Tue 3 Jan 2012

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 […]

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Tour Diary: Sheffield

Mon 11 Apr 2011

A short video from our trip up to Sheffield back in February – a concert which was part of our Green Tour initiative which saw the OAE ditch individual cars in favour of coaches and trains. Though we now know that trains are noisy places in which to film interviews… turn the volume up to hear Ceri at the start! Sadly we didn’t get footage of the venue evacuation, we were too busy wondering what on earth was happening…

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Unattended articles may be removed or destroyed by the security services

Tue 22 Feb 2011

As mentioned below, our concert in Sheffield last week had a rather odd start.

The Orchestra came on stage on time for a 7pm start, all fine. We settled in our seats. The Management team of 3 (myself, CEO Stephen Carpenter and Projects Director Ceri) were all split up in the hall, rather than sitting together as we supposed to. As usual there was that moment when the Orchestra stops tuning and the crowd goes suddenly quiet, waiting for the conductor to appear. Except that he didn’t.

5 minutes later he still hadn’t. Rather odd. The crowd was getting restless.

After a little longer Orchestra Leader Matthew Truscott got up (to applause) and left the stage, presumably to find out what was happening.

He didn’t return.

At this point I texted Ceri, asking if she knew what was up. She didn’t. I suggested that conductor David Zinman was either unwell or had got the start time wrong. Both seemed a little unlikely. Unfortunately I made a typo and said “Either I’ll or has got the…”. So I re-sent the world ‘ill’ on its own. Ceri took this as confirmation that he was indeed ill and I apparently set her mind immediately racing as to what we would do!

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Sheffield's art deco gem

Wed 16 Feb 2011

Last week’s tour took us to a venue entirely new to the OAE, Sheffield’s City Hall. After the intimacy of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick (in the latter we could barely squeeze onto the stage!), the huge expanse of the City Hall, which seats over 2000, came as a bit of a shock! It really is an amazing auditorium, with many players reaction as they walked onto the stage for the first time being: wow. During the rehearsal I got a bit snap-happy, so here are some pictures of the auditorium and Orchestra in rehearsal.

The auditorium is a perfect oval – I’m not sure I have ever been in an oval hall before. It seemed to have some unusual acoustic properties – at some points it felt like the horns were sitting right next to me, playing into my ear! You can find out more about this beautiful hall on their website.

Oh, and we had an unusual start to the concert too. More on that next time.

William Norris, Communications Director

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My week as a green crusader

Tue 15 Feb 2011

In honour of the Orchestra’s Green Tour around the UK this week, the office-based administrative team also committed to Green Week.  For a bit of fun most of us wore something green all week, as a constant reminder about all the things we would 100% commit to do.  I spent the week carrying my thermos flask and a ‘Cats of Cyprus’ fabric shopping bag with me in an attempt to avoid package wastage and also spent the entire week nagging my colleagues about turning their computers off properly at the end of the day… Here’s how I got on the rest of the week…

Monday
A normal day in the office, today, whilst the orchestra were busy rehearsing down at The Warehouse (one of our regular rehearsal venues).  Had a player meeting later on in the day, which required 4 A4 pages of handouts.  I copied them all onto 1 A4 sheet (double-sided and at 50% size), praying that no body minds how small the text would be – reading glasses at the ready! (incidentally I didn’t get any comments).  Later on that day I had the fun task of carrying home a DVD player with large speaker I’d been given (in huuuge box!).  Determined not to cave in and get a taxi I had an interesting journey home, much to the hilarity of my fellow train passengers.

Tuesday
Concert day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, which started with meeting the Web streaming team down at the hall, helping them with their set-up.  Am really excited about the web stream as thousands of people will be able to watch our concert without having to travel anywhere!  I decided to grab a coffee on the way back to the office, and asked if I could get my coffee in my flask (to avoid wasting more cardboard cups).  The barrister had to ask her supervisor if this was OK, which yes it was – result.  Sadly the coffee was made in the cardboard cup and then poured into my flask – FAIL!  Cardboard cup still wasted…

Later on at the hall, was excited to see the signs in the foyer asking our patrons to reuse their programmes, and our article in the programme

about the green tour.  Southbank centre is totally on top of environmental issues and recycling etc, so big tick!  It was a shame that on the way home I didn’t screw the lid back on my water bottle properly and by the time I got home my bag and re-useable programme were soaked.  I hope it dries out in time for our next concert on 3rd March.

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One down, three to go!

Wed 9 Feb 2011

Last night saw the first of our From a dream to revolution concerts, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It kicked off our green tour, and also saw our very first live stream take place (let us know what you thought if you saw it). The concert got a great reception from a sold out hall, and today sees a slightly tired team back in the office, and the Orchestra speeding up to the Lake District on the train for tonight’s concert in Keswick. Up in Keswick David Zinman is replaced by Eduardo Portal, who some of you may remember was our Melgaard Young Conductor last season.

Below are some pictures from last night, plus Orchestra Manager Philippa with our hired in transit van. Usually, for players with large instruments, it’s up to them to get their instruments to the venue (oviosuly we do transport them for them when we tour overseas!), resulting in many cars being driven to Bristol, Birmingham or wherever it may be. As a small Orchestra we don’t have the luxury of a big truck like the symphony orchestras do! But this time, to save carbon emissions, we’re putting all the large instruments in one van, which Philippa is (at this very moment) driving up to the Lake District. We did joke about buying her some pink fluffy dice to go with her transit van…

Next stop: Sheffield

William Norris, Communications Director

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OAE. Live and Free.

Fri 4 Feb 2011

Next week brings another OAE first – we’re doing our first ever live concert stream, in collaboration with IC247.

Our From a dream to revolution concert on Tuesday 8 February at the Queen Elizabeth hall will be streamed online live and free, starting with the pre-concert interview with conductor David Zinman at 5.45pm and then followed by the concert at 7pm.

It ties neatly into our green initaitive which accompanies next week’s tour (of which, more soon), enabling those unable to come to the concert to still enjoy it.

The concert will be streamed live here and if you use Facebook you can find the relevant event here.

The programme is:

5.45pm: OAE Extras Broadcaster Rob Cowan talks to David Zinman about his career and recordings.

7pm: From a dream to revoulution

Mendelssohn Overture, Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Weber Clarinet Concerto No.1 in F minor
Beethoven Symphony No.7

David Zinman conductor
Antony Pay clarinet

You can download a free programme to accompany your listening here – this will be available from Monday 7 Feb.

Lastly, if you want to listen to this concert ‘in the flesh’ then it tours to Keswick (with Eduardo Portal replacing David Zinman) on 9 Feb, Sheffield City Hall on 10 Feb and Basingstoke’s Anvil on 12 Feb. London is now sold out but more tickets will be released at 12 noon on the day.

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