Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Beverley: The Age Old Story

Fri 27 May 2016

OAE Education Director and oboe player, Cherry Forbes, updates us on what’s happening up in Yorkshire. 

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Ay up me ducks: the Orchestra crawls north

Wed 29 Apr 2015

Our intrepid Deputy Director of Development, Harriet Lawrence, followed the Orchestra to Chesterfield. Here she reports back on what she found…

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Hello! Do you have a spare 2 minutes and 52 seconds?

Tue 22 Jul 2014

Watercycle

We thought you probably did.

And how do you feel about being inspired by music, and our largest-ever education project?

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Music, Mermaids and the A-Team

Fri 6 Jun 2014

OAE

When Education Director Cherry Forbes calls you up about a project, you know it’s going to be something good and I’m laying my cards on the table – I’m not sure this one will be easily topped!

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A salute to feathers, furs and fins

Thu 6 Mar 2014

OAE Education

The past month at the OAE has been filled with various animal-related hilarity, involving two of my favourite education events so far; OAE TOTS Animal Time, and the Carnival of the Animals family concert.

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Plymouth Music Zone

Tue 4 Jun 2013

Continuing a partnership developed during our Anthem project last year, this April, OAE musicians Katherine Spencer, Katie Heller and Iurii Gavryliuk went to Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ), for a three day creative music course with disabled young adults and local secondary school students. 

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A Souvenir from Beverley

Thu 30 May 2013

Education Director Cherry Forbes discusses her time at the Beverley Early Music Festival.

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A Northern Treat!

Tue 21 May 2013

Education Director Cherry Forbes is currently up in Beverley, working on an exciting project based on Purcell’s Fairy Queen.  Here, Cherry tells us about the first day of the project; the quirks of staying in this beautiful historic town and what to expect from the rest of the week.

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Music for now, for later, for ever – Anthem and the RPS!

Tue 14 May 2013

The inspiration for the OAE’s Anthem project came from watching David Walliams complete a sponsored cycle ride, from one end of the country to the other, about five years ago. It made me think how could we pass the baton in sound? How could we unite our partner cities in a large scale project and invite new cities to join the OAE community, through baroque music?

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A big thumbs down to noise abatement!

Wed 16 May 2012

You may have read about our adventures back in March where we took a 20-piece OAE orchestra around the country to deliver workshops and concerts under the banner Anthem for a Child.  (If not, you are missing out: read about the cake, tandems, 5000 children, concerts and kettle bells here). The pinnacle of each concert was the performance of James Redwood’s ‘My Cry’ where the whole audience,  consisting of local school children, sang along with the Orchestra.  Filmmaker Joseph Bicknell filmed some of the work we did on our journey and has put together this amazing video which beautifully captures the spirit of the tour.  This video features ‘My Cry’ recorded at our final schools concert in York.  For me, this was one of the most beautiful moments of the tour as the children from York primary schools Dringhouses, Bootham, Heworth and Dunnington sang with such gusto the words echoed round the Jack Lyons concert hall long after the final note.

But don’t take my word for it… have a watch.

We are still doing plenty of work as part of the Anthem for a Child project, with lots of preparation going into our summer term performances.  As well as a host of schools concerts for local London primary school pupils, we are busy preparing for a concert in June as part of the Spitalfields Festival.  This concert will involve young performers from across the country who will join the OAE and ‘My Cry’ will be performed – I can’t wait to hear the final lines ‘I am here’ ringing out across the Old Market!

Ellie Cowan, OAE Education Officer


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The Tandem Diaries

Tue 17 Apr 2012

So, a week after the end of the triumphant Anthem tour, it’s high time for the four tandemeers’ blog entry we promised Ellie and Ceri in the office.

Firstly a few bald numerical facts, totted up on the train home from York as the tandem rested in the guard’s van, sleeping off its glut of miles:

10 days
11 concerts
703 tandem miles
45 hours, 17 mins cycling
1146 man miles and 5417 man minutes – a minute and a bit for every child we saw during the tour!)
2 tandems
36 cooked breakfasts
4 kilos of flapjack
2 swims
4 trips to bike shops
4 new brake blocks
3 new gear sets
2 new chains
600 jelly beans

And second, a fleeting elaboration of those facts, starting with the magnificent send-off JRed and MT (see below for abbreviations) received at the beginning of the first leg. After an interminable half hour of finding, losing and finding things again in front of a crowd of eager onlookers they finally managed to wheel away with mock-confidence from the sparkly heights of Devonport Town Hall. As they negotiated Plymouth’s roundabouts, the surprising timidity of non-London cyclists and various minor mechanical setbacks they mused on the indignity of faff. That ride to Totnes was a gorgeous and exhilarating taster of the tour to come – riding out into a sunny Devon evening with the first of many stirring renditions of “My Cry” (composed for the Anthem tour) ringing in their ears, the loveliness of the English Spring rolling past. After a while their hectic huffing and puffing eased to a smoother pace and the happy discovery of how convivial tandem journeying can be.

JT and MT needed all the conviviality they could muster in the next leg the following afternoon, a brutal 67 mile parade of very nasty ups followed by thrilling but too-brief plummets down while the horizon rapidly rose again to ominous heights. It was at the top of Blackmoor Hill ( ‘Black ‘ being their mood and more hills sadly inevitable) while lorries whooshed angrily by that MT had to ask JT whether they were going slightly uphill or slightly down. That was also the day MT discovered what glutes were and how much they could hurt.

JRed and JRees had a contrastingly delightful stretch from Crewkerne to Bradford on Avon the next morning, stopping for the tandem’s third trip to a bike shop (gears) and a most civilised morning tea in Frome. Meanwhile JT (doing workshops) and MT (a session with local music teachers) had the growing and unnerving sensation that the only place they could ease their spinning heads and aching limbs would be On The Bike.

The opportunity to indulge the onset of addiction came in the afternoon on the short ride between concerts in Bradford on Avon and Chippenham. Here was the first case of set-in-their-ways oldie control freakery in that MT found he could manage only a few minutes stoking on the back with JT as pilot, blaming his neurosis on some elaborate wobbles early on as JT set about taming the beast. For the Chippenham concert MT kept his padded lycra leggings on under his concert trousers, something he will never […]

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Day Six: Anthem in Bury

Thu 29 Mar 2012

Bury-Horn-workshop-4

The Anthem bloggers have returned to normality, after an amazing tour ended with a sell out concert in York on Tuesday evening.  We’ll be looking back at the tour and the last concerts very soon but for now, Beni Weedon tells us about his day in Bury on Sunday 25 March:

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Anthem anomaly…

Tue 27 Mar 2012

Bury-Horn-workshop

The Anthem tour is nearing its end and Ellie and her blogging team are hard at work, but haven’ t been able to send us their updates these past few days due to the lack of internet access (I know…in this day and age!?)

We’ll have their blogs up as soon as we get them, but in the meantime, here’s some pictures from the Family Orchestra Fun Day at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

There are still a few £5 tickets left for tonight’s concert at the National Centre for Early Music in York where the OAE and students from the University of York join forces for the celebratory final concert of the tour. The programme will include Bach’s Wachet Auf, Vivaldi‘s Gloria and James Redwood’s two specially commissioned pieces, Twangling Instruments and My Cry.   For more details and to book, click here.

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Music for now, for later, for ever…

Tue 21 Feb 2012

It was the morning of Friday 27 January 2012.  There was much clapping, chatter and the hum of excited voices from the group of Year 6 children eagerly joining in with the ‘warm up’.  I was sitting at the back of the concert hall, at Kings Place, waiting for my first experience of Anthem for a Child to begin.

Anthem for a Child is the OAE’s most ambitious education project to date, consisting of a nationwide series of workshops and concerts for as many as 5000 children, and students, of all ages.  Anthem endeavours to engage young people with music and aims to leave behind an excitement for the making of music long after they have completed their projects.  The Anthem tour focuses on two especially commissioned pieces by the composer James Redwood – a fanfare, Twangling Instruments, based on Caliban’s speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (during which the children will have the opportunity to play their instruments alongside members of the OAE) and My Cry, a song which all the children will learn…and I found myself happily joining in too – the atmosphere was so remarkably infectious!

The children began with Twangling Instruments, and were encouraged to get out their violins, cellos and recorders.  Cue further excitement and delighted giggling as the children prepared to join the Orchestra with the piece they had been practising hard for weeks.  Half of the group of youngsters formed the choir and the theme for the rest of the concert was laid out – the importance of working as a team.  The children were asked to identify how many ‘teams’ they could hear within the Orchestra itself and these various ‘teams’ were put ‘under the microscope’, where the specific job of each was pointed out.  The oboes were observed working in parallel, the strings were counted and the members of the bass ‘team’ (bassoon, cello and harpsichord) were examined also.  The emphasis was placed on how each team/instrument had an important job to do on its own and, as a result, they contributed to the sound of the piece as a whole – their individual voices, together, played as one sound.  There were further pieces played to demonstrate how the sections of the Orchestra work independently to create the complete sound of a musical piece.  The children were then taught a rhyme and divided into two sections, to sing the ‘canon’. Again myself, and other members of the OAE team, were happy to join in with the rhyme and actions.

It was the vocal fanfare, My Cry, which concluded the concert.  The children had learned sections of this ‘anthem’ in class in advance of the day and it was as though they couldn’t wait to sing it, they got up from their seats with such excitement.  The words to this piece are inspiring and enriching and celebrate what it means to sing – the power of the voice on its own and the collective strength of a choir as a whole.  It was moving to hear this group of children so proudly and enthusiastically singing the words ‘My voice is mine and it is me’.  I began to feel almost envious that I had not been involved in such a project as this when I had been at school, and it served to […]

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The Story of Mr John…

Thu 30 Jun 2011

Next Tuesday 5 July, we’ll be coming straight from Glyndebourne’s Opera House to the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn to perform in an hour-long family concert, playing highlights from one of Mozart’s most famous pieces, Don Giovanni. OAE musicians will be joined by over 150 children from local schools who’ll be performing live on stage.

We caught up with OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes and composer James Redwood, who’ll both be presenting the concert, to ask them what the audience can expect to see, including a dastardly villain and maybe even a few ghosts!

 

Tickets are just £5 for adults and £2 for children and can be booked through the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on 01553 764864 or online here.

For more information on this concert and our other Education projects, why not have a look at our website here?

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A truly Magic Flute

Tue 13 Oct 2009

The stage is decorated with butterflies, moths and snakes of every hue, heralding the musical kaleidoscope that is about to fill the hall.  An orchestra excitedly assembles, with flutes, keyboards, bassoon, horn, cellos, double-bass, violins, trumpets and percussion – all shepherded by OAE musicians.  I am in the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, about to witness a truly unique musical occasion – as animateur James Redwood puts it in his introduction, “This is the only time this will ever happen!”

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