Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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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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Michaela Wehrum: Speed interview

Thu 3 Nov 2011

This Friday, we’ll be performing Beethoven’s choral masterpiece Missa Solemnis at the Royal Festival Hall. We caught up with one of the soloists, Michaela Wehrum (alto).

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Kati Debretzeni: Speed Interview

Mon 17 Oct 2011

On Friday this week, we’ll be celebrating three musical superstars in our Papa Haydn and his Wife concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. We caught up with one of the OAE leaders, Kati Debretzeni, who’ll be performing on the night:

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Charles Hazlewood: Speed Interview

Wed 28 Sep 2011

Charles Hazlewood opens our 2011-2012 Southbank Centre season with us tomorrow, conducting music by Weber and Mendelssohn, in our Fingers, Felix and the Freeshooter concert. Later on, he’ll join us in The Night Shift.

 

What/when was your big breakthrough?

 

Winning the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in 1995

 

What do you fear the most? 

 

Losing my children

 

What – or where – is perfection?

 

At the end of the rainbow I guess, or in Mozart’s Magic Flute

 

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

 

Withnail (from the film Withnail & I) because he’s a very flawed (sort of) genius whose own worst enemy is most definitely himself.

 

What’s your favourite ritual? 

 

Story telling or making risotto

 

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

 

Nelson Mandela

 

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?

 

Malibu surfing.

 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

 

To breathe

 

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?

 

The slow movement of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante K364, Sibongile Khumalo live at the Market Theatre and Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, even stevens.

 

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?

 

The sound and the way they listen

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Katia Labèque: Speed Interview

Mon 20 Jun 2011

Katia and Marielle Labèque

In June 2011, we spoke with Katia Labèque as she prepared to tour with Sir Simon Rattle and the OAE for the first time.  As we join them once more for tonight’s concert of French Fancies, we take another look at that Speed Interview…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
I suppose when our first CD of Rhapsodie in Blue went gold in few months. It did focus the attention of the people on us and also on the repertoire we were playing.

What do you fear the most?
Death of the people we love.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I don’t call often because I prefer the computer.

What – or where – is perfection?
Thank God perfection does not exist…that gives each of us the possibility to try to reach it.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Bartleby: “I would prefer not to…” If I really have to explain, I see him as an artist who refuses to compromise his art, who refuses to conform to the model of the society he lives in…

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Alison Bury: Speed Interview

Fri 3 Jun 2011

Alison Bury

Ahead of our all-Handel programme tomorrow night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we caught up with OAE leader and director for this concert, Alison (Ally) Bury…

What do you fear the most? 

Monsters – inner and outer, real and metaphorical.

 Which mobile number do you call the most?

My husband, Richard Earle, OAE oboist. But I prefer my landline.

What – or where – is perfection?

A summer walk on the South Downs followed by tea and cakes.

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

Difficult to choose just one – but I love Rose Aubrey, the narrator of Rebecca West’s The Fountain Overflows, one of the few novels which gives a convincing account of a musician’s life.

What’s your favourite ritual?

Doing the Guardian cryptic crossword with my husband over a cup of tea.

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Elin Manahan Thomas: Speed Interview

Thu 19 May 2011

Elin Manahan Thomas

As we mentioned in our last post, we’re taking our Night Shift to the Village Underground, Shoreditch, on Friday 24 June – a building played in by the Klaxons, Jarvis Cocker and The XX. It should be a fab night and details are available from our Night Shift website.  The full programme will be performed before this on 4 June at the Queen Elizabeth Hall- more details here. In the meantime, why not have a read of our speed interview with the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas who’ll be singing some glorious Handel arias on both nights:

What/when was your big breakthrough?

Stepping in on the day for the ill soloist on a Monteverdi Choir tour to sing the Messiah. Nerve-wracking and brilliant.

What do you fear the most? 

Flying. Really not helpful when you’re a travelling musician.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My husband’s. A hundred times more so, now that we have a baby boy and every day feels like a big round of decisions.

What – or where – is perfection?

Home, on the sofa, bags unpacked.

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

Frodo Baggins. I’d have given in to that ring by the end of book one!

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Artur Pizarro: Speed Interview

Tue 3 May 2011

Artur Pizarro, photo taken by Sven Arnstein

We’re currently performing Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto with soloist Artur Pizarro – with him making his period instrument debut with us. Catch it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London tomorrow – and in the mean time have a read of his Speed Interview with us:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Well, I’ve been playing the piano all my life and always with the focus on a career as a soloist so the process has been long and gradual but if I have to highlight a moment it would definitely be winning the Leeds Piano Competition in 1990. I was just back in Leeds to play for Dame Fanny Waterman’s 90th birthday party and it was amazing to see all the friendly faces who have supported me in the last two decades! An amazing experience!

What do you fear the most?
Stupidity and cruelty, point blank!!!

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My manager Tom Croxon, who else??

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Roy Goodman: Speed Interview

Tue 26 Apr 2011

In just over a week’s time we have our next concert at Southbank Centre, May the fours be with you. We know the concert title has been a bit of a marmite-like subject, you either love it or hate it – but it just references all the fours – 4th May, Mozart Symphony 40, Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4, Schubert Symphony No. 4…

Anyhow, for this concert (and the Night Shift that follows) we’re joined by conductor Roy Goodman, for whom this is a bit of a special moment – returning to the OAE as conductor, after having been a player member of the OAE in our early days back in the 80’s. Here’s his Speed Interview. You can also catch the concert in Bristol this Thursday, 28 April.

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Boy soloist for Decca Records in Allegri’s Miserere as a chorister in King’s College Choir 1963.

What do you fear the most?
Divorce and overdrafts.

 Which mobile number do you call the most?
Jane, my Kiwi girlfriend in Auckland, New Zealand.

What – or where – is perfection?
A full moon whilst sailing my boat in the Western Isles of Scotland.

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Catherine Mackintosh: Speed Interview

Fri 4 Mar 2011

Catherine Mackintosh, an OAE violinist and ex leader, will be taking part in our The other amazing Mr Bach study day tomorrow, playing and talking about CPE Bach’s Trio Sonata Sanguineas and Melancholius. Here’s our speed interview with her:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
My breakthroughs have been many but small.  A very early one was playing the One Note in Purcell’s Fantasy of that name with the members of the Melos Ensemble as a teenager. Emmanuel Hurwitz was then very helpful to me. Becoming leader of the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973 was also a huge career step for me.

What do you fear the most?
Snakes, without a doubt and anything bad happening to my family. Not too keen on the idea of death either.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
As my husband hardly ever uses his mobile, I expect it’s Philippa’s (OAE Orchestra Manager).

What – or where – is perfection?
I have never been in pursuit of it actually because, if it exists, or is discovered, it is all the more astonishing for being unsought.  Sitting in front of a roaring log fire in our house in France comes pretty close I must admit.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Aunt Dahlia from the works of PG Wodehouse. She is described by her nephew, Bertie Wooster as “a festive old bird” and now I have reached a certain age, I cannot imagine a better state to emulate.

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Antony Pay: Speed Interview

Thu 10 Feb 2011

Antony Pay is our Principal Clarinettist, and he’s currently on tour with us, taking centre stage with Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.1. There’s still a chance to catch the performance tonight in Sheffield or Saturday in Basingstoke. We put some quick fire questions to him:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
In January 1968 when the London Sinfonietta did its first concert.  That led quite quickly to work with the LPO and the English Chamber Orchestra, and then to my being appointed first clarinet in the RPO under Kempe…I remember it being a golden year!

What do you fear the most?
I feel most terrified in the moments before throwing myself into a challenge; once I’m actually doing it, it isn’t so bad.  On a more trivial level, I don’t like to feel as though I’m looking stupid, so answering questionnaires like this is difficult.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I often call my wife;  sometimes that’s just for a lift back from the railway station, but we speak most days when I’m away.

What – or where – is perfection?
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?”

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Vladimir Jurowski: Speed Interview

Wed 19 Jan 2011

Vladimir Jurowski, one of our three Principal Artists, conducts three concerts with us this week, two in London and one in Paris. Ahead of these we caught up with him for one of our Speed Interviews:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
1995

What do you fear the most?
To act against my own conscience.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My wife’s

What – or where – is perfection?
Perfection is an ideal. As such it belongs into the reign of dreams.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Snufkin (Snusmumriken) from the ‘Moomins’-series by Tove Jansson – for he is an idealist, an individualist, always calm, good-humoured, a music-lover and an eternal traveller.

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John Butt: Speed Interview

Tue 14 Dec 2010

John Butt is currently with us conducting our tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio which has its last performance tonight, in Southwell. We put our speed interview questions to him:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Well, I’ve had some fortunate opportunities in several aspects of my career, but I suppose as a conductor, the most significant was the first recording I did with the Dunedin Consort (Messiah in its Dublin version, 2006), which got a couple of major awards.

What do you fear the most?
In terms of performing, about which I tend to be quite intensive, it’s probably about having a complete energy block. This does happen often in everyday life (owing to an underlying condition) but never, so far, in performing or rehearsing. I suppose, in general, I fear most a decline in physical and mental abilities.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My wife, Sally’s, by a long way – she’s very fond of the phone.

What – or where – is perfection?
Difficult one – I tend to think of it as an infinite process rather than as something that’s ever achieved. Bach’s attitude to composition is an obvious example of this – I’m sure that if he were still alive he’d still be working on the same pieces. And, if perfection ever seems to be achieved, isn’t it often a little dull? Performing with period instruments is an excellent case in point: you give up some of the perfections of what some might see as technical ‘progress’ (in terms of both instruments and the playing techniques), but gain other types of perfection in terms of tone, intonation, articulation (and, not least, the enquiring attitude of the performer). With older types of tuning you get some intervals that are acoustically close to perfect, but others that definitely aren’t, and these often have expressive connotations – thereby heading in the direction of yet another type of perfection…

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Ask Vlad!

Wed 1 Dec 2010

Next month, our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski returns to us to conduct a boundary pushing (for a period instrument orchestra) Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Mahler, Wagner and Liszt. There’s a performance in the Royal Festival Hall on 21 Jan, a Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 19 Jan, and should you live in Paris, a performance there on 22 Jan.

On Monday, our intrepid Digital Content Officer, Zen, will be catching up with Vladimir to interview him in advance of his concerts with us. We want to know your burning questions to put to him, so add them here as comments or over on our Facebook page. We promise to ask a selection of them, and we’ll get the video up before Christmas. You might want to ask about the programme, his career, why he works with the OAE or even why he likes the Moomins…(that will be explained in a forthcoming Speed Interview actually).

The full line up for concerts on 21 and 22 Jan is below, with the pieces included in The Night Shift indicated by a seasonal snow flake (*). (ok, it’s an asterisk…)

Wagner Prelude to Parsifal
Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a wayfarer), with soloist Sarah Connolly.
Mahler Totenfeier*
Liszt Les Preludes*

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Bernard Labadie: Speed Interview

Mon 29 Nov 2010

Ooops. We’re running a little behind here on the OAE Blog. Leaves online, or something… Anyway, here’s a speed interview with Barnard Labadie who conducted us last week at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and on tour as well.

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Conducting Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999 led to a series of invitations with most of the great American orchestras within a few years.

What do you fear the most?
Like many of my colleagues in our business: not having enough rehearsal time!

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I live without one and so do many of my friends, so I honestly don’t know!

What – or where – is perfection?
In a glass of Brunello di Montalcino 1997.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Miles in the movie “Sideways”.  Nobody can talk about Pinot Noir like him.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Everything Christmas.

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Enrique Mazzola: Speed Interview

Mon 8 Nov 2010

In advance of our concert with him at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night, Enrique answers our burning questions…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
It was in 2002, when I discovered my house in Tuscany. I left Milan behind and with it the big city routine, and found a completely new way of life: countryside, nature, starry skies, fields…

What do you fear the most?
I fear a future of misunderstanding between people, religions and politics that may lead to wars. I fear a lack of communication.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
The one of my personal angel…

What – or where – is perfection?
Perfection is nowhere. We are the kingdom of the imperfection – and it’s great!

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
I love Neo from the movie The Matrix – a figure who tries to explain the drama of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. He comes pretty close I think!

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Speed Interview: Rosemary Joshua

Tue 19 Oct 2010

Rosemary sings with us tomorrow night at our twin performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (7pm and 10pm). Here are her quick questions…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
I’m still waiting for it!

What do you fear the most?
Walking onto the stage with the wrong vocal score in my hand! It nearly happened to me once before a concert performance of Tancredi… I was travelling with various music scores and just happened to pick up the wrong one as I left my dressing room in a panic…

Which mobile number do you call the most?
Officially my husband’s!

What – or where – is perfection?
Having flaws and defects is what makes life interesting…perfection is what we aspire towards and keeps us motivated. The perfect place to be is wherever the people I love happen to be in the world…

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Basil Fawlty…  the sheer energy and sense of improvisation overwhelms me every time. Fawlty Towers never lets me down when I need a good laugh!

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Speed interview: Kati Debretzeni

Tue 12 Oct 2010

Next Wednesday, Kati, one of the OAE’s four leaders, will direct two concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, one at 7pm and a following Night Shift at 10pm. We caught up with her to ask her a few questions…

What do you fear the most?
Debilitating illness of a loved one.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
The wonderful Hungarian-speaking babysitter’s of my 15 month old Alma. And I keep trying my husband’s knowing he won’t hear it – I inflicted the phone on him…

What – or where – is perfection?
In our minds. But no harm in trying!

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
I like anti-heroes better then heroes. Sancho Panza or Leporello are so much more interesting then the protagonists – they are human, and frail, and have real emotional depth and complexities.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Not a person of rituals really. If pressed – going to a cafe and reading the newspaper by myself. Sad…

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Speed Interview: Roberto Polastri

Fri 1 Oct 2010

Hard to believe (well, I find it hard to believe at any rate), that the new season is almost upon us, and the rain pouring down outside our office is confirmation that autumn is pretty much here. Anyway, our 2010-2011 concert season at Southbank Centre kicks off next Thursday and here’s a quick interview with conductor Roberto Polastri. If you fancy spending next Thursday in the company of him, the OAE and the music of Mozart and Pergolesi, then click here to snap up some tickets.

William Norris

What/when was your big breakthrough?

Almost all the things I have done have contributed to my career. I was particularly proud to conduct Cenerentola at Glyndebourne Festival with the LPO and OAE.

What do you fear the most?

Decadence (Alzheimer’s and so on).

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My wife’s.

What – or where – is perfection?

Nowhere, luckily, so that we can try to do better and better.

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

Don Quixote because he lives in a world of his own.

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Speed Interview: Robert Howarth

Thu 26 Aug 2010

 

What do you fear the most?

Loneliness, or spiders.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My wife’s.

What – or where – is perfection?

Unfortunately perfection is impossible, but my cat Basil comes close.

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

Charlie Brown, I can relate to his many disappointments.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

My wife, for her manifold talents and infinite beauty. She is a constant inspiration to me and without her I would be useles

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