Our increasingly irregular arts blog, Current Distractions, is back. This week I’m looking at expressing disapproval, arts and politics in the news, classical CD Sales (or lack of), movers and shakers and lastly, graffiti wars.Read More
A new season of OAE concerts starts on 9 October, with concerts at Southbank Centre and elsewhere running through until May next year. You can get a little taste of what’s to come on our 100 second new season trailer, filmed in a low-fi ‘activist’ style to match our brochure and images this year.Read More
We’re excited to announce a very limited 3 day flash sale event – allowing you to purchase best available bargain tickets for our next The Works event for just £10.*Read More
Tomorrow night we head over to Queen Elizabeth Hall for a step-by-step guide to one of Beethoven’s favourite works; Symphony No. 8. Here’s a look at what you can expect.Read More
The time has come to unveil our new season brochure.This year we went for a purely visual approach, developed with our designers Harrison and Co and photographer Eric Richmond, which has a slight retro feel, using geometric shapes combined with a simple two tone palette.Read More
The countertenor is the highest male adult voice. Peter Giles, a professional countertenor and noted author on the subject, defines the countertenor as a musical part, rather than a vocal style or mechanism. The countertenor range is generally equivalent to an alto range, extending from approximately G3 or A3 to E5 or G5 and they will usually have a vocal center similar in placement to that of a mezzo-soprano.Read More
For those of you who haven’t tried out one of our The Works concerts yet, we’ve got a great event coming up this month at Southbank Centre on 26 March.Read More
In the lead up to V4: The Seasons, we spoke with lead violinist Kati Debretzeni about her fears, her heroes and the challenges of combining period music with contemporary dance.Read More
We chatted to OAE Principal flautist Lisa Beznosiuk to ask her a few questions, amidst her solo performances with us this week on our Baroque Giants: Bach tour in London, Birmingham and Bradford-on-Avon.Read More
We’re excited that our new concert series, The Works, returns for a second outing tomorrow night at Southbank Centre.
The idea behind The Works is to give you the classical music equivalent of a gallery’s audio guide – a guided tour of selected classical masterpieces. At tomorrow’s event we’re featuring Bach’s Suite No.3 and Brandenburg Concerto No.5, with director Laurence Cummings and presenter Hannah Conway being your guides for the evening. Full info on the concert is available here
To whet your appetite for the event we’ve put together a little trailer, above.Read More
After a very slight break for the OAE, we’re going on another tour, this time with Laurence Cummings who will be directing an all-Bach programme from the harpsichord. In London we’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4 March, followed by The Night Shift on the same night and the programme also appears as The Works on Tuesday 6 March. We’re also performing with Laurence at the Wiltshire Music Centre (9 March) and Birmingham’s Town Hall (8 March).
We caught up with Laurence to ask him a few questions…
What/when was your big breakthrough?
I feel that my musical career has been one long and fortunate slow burn but the thing that really changed my musical life and was a catalyst in the process of becoming a conductor was being appointed Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in 1997. I have enjoyed working with the students so much over the years and learnt so much from them. In fact Matthew Truscott, the leader for these projects, was one of the first students I worked with at RAM. I am very proud of his amazing achievements and delighted to be sharing the concert platform with him!
What do you fear the most?
A life lived in fear is a life half-lived (quotation from the film Strictly Ballroom!), however I won’t go skiiing in case I break my arm or damage my hands. It doesn’t stop me dancing wildly at parties though!
Which mobile number do you call the most?
What – or where – is perfection?
A walk in the countryside with my boyfriend.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Mrs Madrigal from Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.
What’s your favourite ritual?
Hanging up my coat and putting down my bag when getting home.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
My mother. She has achieved the most extraordinary things in her life. After my father died tragically early, she raised three children with strength, courage and grace and went on to become a Macmillan nurse. On retirement only a year’s voluntary service overseas would do! Where? Siberia of course. She worked with hospices in Russia and helped to forge links with British palliative care teams, creating exchanges of medical equipment and information. She is also wonderful company and her favourite word is ‘fun’!
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Live in the moment. I was very taken, when reading Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Art of Living and Dying, with the quotation from William Blake ‘He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life destroy, But he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in Eternity’s sunrise’.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Bach’s Mass in B minor.
What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
Where to start?! With the OAE you can take the phenomenal standard of playing as a given, but what is so fascinating and energising is playing with musicians who have such a high level of […]
Another feature of tomorrow’s The Works event is a special speed-dating session after the show. Well, speed-networking is maybe a better way to express it, but we’re going to use the structure of speed-dating to enable the audience to meet the Orchestra. There will be 10 tables in the foyer post show each with a player on, who’ll be primed and ready to answer all your questions. Unlike a real date however there can be several audience members per player! You’ll have 5 minutes at each table after which time a bell will go and you’ll have to move onto the next table.
BBC Music Magazine picked up on this a couple of issues ago, with a great little article and brilliant cartoon by Jonty Clark of Double Bass Chi-chi Nwanoku enjoying a particularly hot date…
Pianist and scholar Robert Levin appeared with us last night in two concerts (a 7pm and a Night Shift) and today has been on a bit of a media blitz, appearing on Radio 4’s Today programme and the World Service too. There’s also something in the Evening Standard.
The reason? Well Robert has been talking about two things. Last night he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 with us, and Robert’s research strongly points to it being written for a pupil of his, Barbara Ployer, something previously unknown. One of the reasons he suspects this is that he found a coda written for the piece, which was intended for Barbara, and this coda hasn’t been performed for at least 200 years. But alongside this, Robert has been talking about how we perform Mozart these days. Modern performance very much sticks to what is written on the page, with no deviation. But Robert argues that in Mozart’s day there would have been a lot of free rein given to the soloist, to embellish the basic musical line, improvise around it etc. In fact, Robert, argues that his hero, Duke Ellington, is really like a modern-day Mozart.
Robert is performing the Concerto with us again on 4 October, as part of our very first The Works event. In the event he’ll be joined by presenter Suzy Klein, and the first half of the concert will be given over to a ‘guided tour’ of the concerto. More on the event in this previous blog post.
Here’s Robert talking about the concerto, plus links to today’s coverage.
Robert on the Today Programme
Evening Standard CoverageRead More
Many of you will know of, or will have been to, one of our Night Shift events. We introduced these late-night concerts about 5 years ago, for a number of reasons – the prime one being that we wanted to appeal to a different audience to that which comes along at 7pm. But also at the OAE we like experimenting and trying new things – and the idea of a late-night informal concert simply appealed to us. As evidenced by the fact we’re still doing them 5 years later, the series has been a great success, but a year ago we started thinking ‘what next’?
When I say ‘what next’ I mean in terms of types of concert. We really like the idea of varying the concert format, so that we have a range of things that appeal to different people. We already have our ‘standard’ 7pm concerts, the Night Shift and also our amazingly popular Tots events. So we started thinking about other ideas. A shortlist was drawn up, we debated it at a board meeting, and we decided to go for something which at the time was called an ‘explorer’ concert.
The idea from this is evolved from a couple of one-off events we’ve had with conductors Iván Fischer and Marin Alsop in past seasons, where they have deconstructed a piece of music before we give a performance of it. But the concept also evolved from what some Night Shift focus groups had told us. In those groups we actually had some attenders who were somewhat older than the typical Night Shift audience. Like others in the focus groups they weren’t actually that keen on traditional classical concerts, but they came because they liked the event and its informality. However some of them did say that it was a little too late for them and that they felt they didn’t quite fit in with the studenty audience. So this made us think…we could develop something almost midway between a 7pm concert and a Night Shift. Something informal, welcoming and approachable, but perhaps a bit more structured than a Night Shift, but incorporating lots of ideas from it nonetheless.
So, after an office-wide brainstorm to find a name The Works was born. The concept is not rocket science. The heart of it is a concert at 8pm, that lasts around 80 minutes, with no interval. In the first part of the concert the presenter and conductor or soloist will give the audience a ‘guided tour’ of the featured piece of music, movement by movement. Then there’s time for a Q+A and then a full performance of it. Drinks will be allowed in and we hope some of the informal atmosphere of the Night Shift will ensue. Before the concert, from 7pm we have some jazz in the bar as a way to start people’s evening off and then after the concert our Education Director, Cherry, will lead a ‘speed-date-the-OAE’ session, which is basically a flash way of enabling the audience to meet the Orchestra (all will be explained on the night)!
Our first one is coming up soon on 4 October, for which we’re fortunate to be joined by pianist Robert Levin, who is such an amazing speaker. He’ll be playing and introducing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 – a […]Read More