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 […]Read More
Here’s a little audio-visual recap of The Night Shift which we held at Village Underground a few weeks back. Project Director Ceri’s account of how her Night Shift day went is below, but in this post we have a little video with footage from the event plus audience reaction – make sure you watch it right to the end…
Also a selection of pics – you can view the full set over on The Night Shift’s Facebook page or instead on Flickr, if you prefer.
A day in the life of The Night Shift from Ceri’s perspective:
It’s 9.30am on Friday 24th June, It’s been a looooong week: Monday Dublin, Tuesday Royal Festival Hall, Wednesday and Thursday catching up and meetings – and that’s just for me! I assume it’s been worse for the players who also had Glyndebourne rehearsals on the intervening days… Anyway, I should be absolutely exhausted and dreading the prospect of working until at least 12am this evening, but I’m not – this is what we sometimes call “The Night Shift effect”. (editor – different to the ‘Night Shift hangover…)
I of course love working at all OAE concerts, but for me the Night Shift is something quite special, even if they are at least 10 times harder work – especially in a non-traditional concert venue such as Village Underground (no fixed stage, lights, music stands, seats, air-con, changing rooms – you get the picture). So much of Friday felt like venturing into the unknown, a new venue, new acoustics, not sure we’d all fit on stage, not sure if the musicians would be able to cope with the lack of dressing space, chilling areas (aka green room) etc.
Here is a timetable of my day on Friday and how I made it to 12am still full of beans.
9.30 Arrive at office after early morning gym session – going to need those endorphins to get me thorough today I can tell you.
10.00 Quick staff meeting just to make sure everyone is up to speed with all the arrangements and aware of their responsibilities tonight.
10.30 Pop down to Kings Place Music Foundation to pick up the lit stands (i.e.music stands with lights attached – for the darker ambience we use for The Night Shift) we’re borrowing for this eveningRead More
This time next week we’re taking our late-night informal series The Night Shift to another new venue. Following on from appearances at the Roundhouse and Wilton’s Music Hall last year, next week sees us playing Village Underground, an unusual venue tucked away in Shoreditch. The front door isn’t easily found but the venue itself is pretty visible for having several old tube trains parked on the roof, which are used as artists studios. Inside the venue is part warehouse, part under-the-arches space. The building was originally a coal store for the railway above, and in later incarnations saw use as a music hall and a car mechanics. Prior to being refurbished and reopening in 2007 however it had become a derelict dumping ground. Now beautifully restored, it’s a really versatile cultural space, played by pop artists such as The XX and Jarvis Cocker, but now playing host to the OAE and The Night Shift as well.
We’re appearing there as part of the Spitalfields Music summer festival and are really excited about it. Last year’s event at Wilton’s was our first standing Night Shift (well, people mainly sat on the floor) and this really contributed to the informal nature of the event – plus it means that people can get really close to the Orchestra. We’re also taking a fantastic all-Handel programme there. The concert’s at 9 but at 8pm there’s something really special – a collaboration between us, the Roundhouse Experimental Choir and Spitalfields Music’s Circulate ensemble – but more on that next week. If all that’s piqued your curiosity then take a look at The Night Shift website to find out more.
William Norris, Communications DirectorRead More
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!Read More
We’re looking forward to our next Night Shift event on Wednesday (4 May), and ahead of it we’ve just released our latest podcast. In it we feature an in-depth interview with star pianist Artur Pizarro, talk to OAE violinist and Leader Alison Bury about what it’s like playing at The Night Shift, plus we look ahead to our June event in Shoreditch. First though we start off hearing from you, with audience reaction to our last event.
The Night Shift returns on Wednesday 4 May
The podcast will also shortly be available on itunes, just search for Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment