Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Not all audiences are the same: Jennifer Jones

Mon 8 Oct 2012

When I rang my Mum, Jennifer, (pictured right) at the eleventh hour and asked whether she would like to be in the OAE’s new season brochure – since we were looking for an older woman to complement the bodybuilders and other people with ‘strong looks’ that had already contacted the OAE – she completely astounded me by agreeing.

Mum was available for last minute photo shoots since she had given up work 2 years prior when she was diagnosed with Cancer – a terminal lung cancer called Mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the lung cavity and had developed due to exposure to Asbestos as some undefined point in Mum’s life.  Tragically Mum never got to see her picture in print, as she passed away before the last concert of the OAE’s season in June 2012, just a few days after her 62nd birthday.

I’ve worked at the OAE since 2003, and Mum had been a dedicated supporter since then.  A month after I started work at the OAE she joined us last minute for the Theodora dress rehearsal at Glyndebourne and was as blown away with OAE and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson as I was.  Every Summer since then she accompanied me to Glyndebourne.  Choosing the perfect Glyndebourne outfit had become almost an obsession for us both – as well as the celeb spotting.  I think we managed a news reader and a few actors.  Heaven forbid that I ever ask someone else to accompany me.  She regarded it as payback for all those years of clarinet lessons and ferrying me around.

Living in Surrey, Mum was also a regular at our Southbank Centre concerts.  Like me, she had a particular love of the later stuff, but came to relish and enjoy the Baroque self-directed earlier stuff too.  Though she could never quite get over her opinion that all Haydn Symphonies sound the same – there are just too many of them!

It has been a pleasure to share my OAE journey with her, a rather fitting tribute to see her smiling face immortalised in the brochure this year.

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

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