Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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John Holmes

Director of Marketing & Audience Development

Hi, I’m John and I’m Director of Marketing & Audience Development at the OAE (saying all that is a mouthful I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to…)

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Ivan Rockey

Director of Finance & Operations

I’m Ivan Rockey and I joined the OAE in 2014 as Director of Finance & Operations. I have a degree in Music from Oxford University, an MBA from the Open University, and I’ve worked in classical music for almost 20 years, including as Concert Manager of the English Chamber Orchestra, General Manager of Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and Executive Director of British Youth Opera.

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Emily Stubbs

Development Director

Hi I’m Emily and I’m the Development Director at the OAE which means I run the fundraising team. I first worked for the orchestra when they performed Figaro at Glyndebourne in 1989. After that I worked at ENO, Wigmore Hall and the Royal Academy of Music before coming to the OAE 2 years ago.

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Martin Lawrence

Horn

Martin Lawrence has been the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s second horn since 1995.

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Annette Isserlis

Viola

Annette Isserlis studied at the Royal College of Music, where she now teaches historical performance on baroque and classical viola. 

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Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Composer

His times: Elgar was born eight years before the Finn Jean Sibelius, a composer who like many others on the edges of Europe would become associated with musical ‘nationalism’.

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Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

Composer

His times: Italy succumbed less readily to the excesses and experiments of the Romantic movement than most of her European neighbours, and the result – in a country whose musical life was dominated by opera in the 19th century – was a conservative attitude to the stage in which works tended to be divided into the ‘comic’ and the ‘tragic’ while not stretching far beyond established formulas and aiming for little more than short-term success.

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)

Composer

His times: Charpentier was born in an aristocratic France where music was predominantly heard in the church and stylistically influenced by Italian and German models. Well-to-do Charpentier found himself studying law in Paris and eventually music – or perhaps it was painting to begin with, we don’t really know – in Rome. There he was spotted by the composer Giacomo Carissimi, who became his mentor. Back in France, Charpentier spent 17 years as court composer to Marie de Lorraine before working in a similar post for the Dauphin, son of Louis XIV and then as music master for the Jesuit order in Paris. Eventually he directed music at the Saint-Chapelle, the gothic chapel at the Palais de Justice.

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William Boyce (1711-1779)

Composer

OAE

His times: As was the case for most professional musicians at the time, the church shaped much of William Boyce’s early musical life. He sang at St Paul’s Cathedral in whose shadow he was born, before holding appointments as organist at a number of city churches and becoming Master of the King’s Music.

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Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns

Composer

OAE

His times: In his lifetime, and for many years thereafter, Saint-Saëns was viewed as an upholder of tradition – an arch-conservative with an intense interest in music of the past (much of which, including Bach, he revived for the first time in France). In truth Saint-Saëns was a progressive man, who proved instrumental in dragging the French musical establishment forward: away from the light opera it was so obsessed with and onto song and chamber music. But as a world-famous musician in the 18th and early 19th centuries, Saint-Saëns wrote across the board: operas, concertos, symphonies and instrumental, vocal and chamber music.

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Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)

Composer

His times: Now it’s the Czech Republic; in Dvořák’s time it was Bohemia – an Austrian crown land that was effectively more ‘European’ in a musical sense than it was Slavic.

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Piotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Composer

His times: Russia and Russian music were alive with nationalism in the mid 1800s when Tchaikovsky was born in a small town in present-day Udmurtia. But while Tchaikovsky’s music irrefutably grew from Russian soil – and often sounds like it too – the composer wasn’t interested in traditional notions of musical nationalism.

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Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)

Composer

OAE

His times: Offenbach was sent from his native Cologne to study music in Paris, a city that was fast forging a reputation as the world capital of entertainment (risqué, populist and otherwise) and was, for much of the composer’s adult life, under the regime of the Second French Republic and Napoleon III.

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Jean-Phillippe Rameau (1683-1764)

Composer

Jean-Philippe-Rameau

The Man
Rameau was secretive about the first half of his life: it seems that he never imparted any detail of it to his friends or even to his wife. We know he was born in a family of musicians, that his father was his first teacher and that he worked as an organist in some churches, including the one in the Jesuit College where Voltaire was a pupil – a few years later he became the librettist of some of Rameau’s operas.

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Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

Composer

Verdi

Himself: Despite his innate musical ability (he began studying music at the age of three), Verdi’s application for the Milan Conservatory was rejected due to his lack of piano technique and discipline. In 1839, he moved to Milan and he had his first success with Nabucco and also his first failure, with the comedy Un giorno di negro. He only composed one other comedy in his career: Falstaff, his last opera.

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Gavin Edwards

Horn

Gavin Edwards studied Horn with Anthony Chiddel and Classical horn with Anthony Halstead, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After graduating he was appointed as principal horn of the Orchestre Sinfonica de Tenerife. On his return to England he joined the Hanover Band in their recordings of Beethoven’s, Schubert’s and Haydn’s symphonies. From here he started to work mainly in ensembles specializing in “period performance” principally with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and, of course, the OAE.

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Josef Mysliveček (1737-1781)

Composer

His Times Mysliveček followed the standard 18th-century route into composing, starting in the church and ending in the theatre. This was a time when composers were itinerant and needed aristocratic patronage: Mysliveček got support from Count Vincenz von Waldstein and traveled to Rome in 1763 to learn his operatic craft with his schooling as a church violinist (and his previous life as an apprentice miller) behind him.

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Composer

Vivaldi/The Man
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice.  He was baptized immediately after his birth by the midwife, which led many people to believe his life was somehow in danger.  The real reason is still not known for sure, some argue it was due to ill health while others state that an earthquake the same day led his mother to be in constant fear for her son’s life.  As a result, Vivaldi’s mother dedicated him to the Priesthood.

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Katy Bell

Press and PR Director

Hi, I’m the OAE’s first in house Press Manager, and I’ve been here since 2009, working Monday to Wednesday. 

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Cherry Forbes

Education Director

Hi I’m Cherry and I’m the OAE’s Education Director.

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