Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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John Butt

Conductor

“What makes the OAE so special?” Principal artist John Butt tells us.

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Hello, John Butt

Sun 13 Dec 2015

Introducing John Butt OBE, our newest Principal Artist.

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30 years of breaking the rules: 2015-2016 concerts announced

Thu 22 Jan 2015

Luise Buchberger OAE 2015-2016 Season

This morning at Southbank Centre we launched our 2015-2016 season of concerts to the press – a year which marks our 30th Birthday. As you’d expect we have some pretty special events lined up for you…

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Bach Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos – Audience Reactions

Fri 24 May 2013

A chance to hear some of the audience reactions to the third and final part of our Kings Place ‘Bach Unwrapped’ series ‘Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos’. 

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Cantatas & Brandenburg Concertos: Audience reaction

Wed 24 Apr 2013

Bach Unwrapped voxpops

On 19 April, we performed on the Kings Place stage for the second of our three Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos concerts.

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John Butt: In Conversation

Thu 18 Apr 2013

John-Butt

As we prepare for the next in our series of three concerts at Kings Place celebrating the musical genius of J.S Bach (coming up tomorrow night), we caught up with conductor John Butt to find out more about the composer himself and what makes him so special.

For full information and booking details, visit the event page.

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Speed Interview – John Butt

Thu 21 Mar 2013

Conductor John Butt is about to make his appearance with us for the first of three concerts at Kings Place celebrating Bach’s Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos.  We put our speed interview questions to him:

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Bach…unwrapped

Sat 16 Mar 2013

Bach-ing mad?

Then you might like our video trailer.

We’re very excited to be part of Kings Place’s largest annual series to date, Bach Unwrapped, celebrating the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. We kick off our set of nine events on 22 March with a concert celebrating his Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos, led by the effervescent conductor, John Butt.

But it doesn’t end there…from March to May, we’ll have two OAE TOTS concerts (23 March) for our younger music-lovers, a chance to sing Bach’s Passions with OAE principal keyboardist Robert Howarth (23 March), as well as a lively family concert (18 May) and a study day, focusing on Bach’s sublime Brandenburg Concertos (20 April).

If that’s still not enough Bach for you, you can download an online brochure for the whole series here.

All event info and booking can be found here or you can call the Kings Place Box Office on 020 7520 1490.

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Evil black poodles, electrifying Beethoven and DNA. Our top OAE moments of 2010

Thu 23 Dec 2010

As has become customary at this time of year we asked around the office and orchestra for people’s top OAE moments of 2010. There are definitely a few trends in the below… and we’d love to know what your top OAE moments of the year were too.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether Beethoven with Iván Fischer or Bach with John Butt wins my best moment of 2010? I’vedecided it’s John Butt because I have not worked with him as a director before. John is a leading Bach scholar and there were constant pearls of wisdom and humour (always a good thing in rehearsals). He is such an open and physically uninhibited musician. One of my favourite moments was when he asked us to be like evil black poodles—- all I could think of was Cruella de Vil! Not very 18th century but it worked.

Martin Kelly, Viola and Vice-Chairman

It was definitely Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne which I had the pleasure of watching twice; firstly on our annual office trip and the next time with my mum when we were caught in the worst downpour of the summer. The poor dressed up Glyndebourne-dwellers were darting, bubbly in arms, into any available shelter possible during the interval and it was a sorry, soggy lot of us who trudged back into the performance. It was my mum’s first visit to Glyndebourne though and she didn’t care at all. Don Giovanni was amazing all the way through but I especially loved the very end. Those dramatic scales over the descending bass line plus the Commendatore bellowing ‘Don Giovanni!’ certainly made for a spine tingling death scene!

Natalie Chivers, Education Projects Manager

I loved the Creation education project.

The chaos of moving 800 children that preceeded and followed the event was quite something; the silence and concentration of all those pupils watching and engaged during the performance in a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall was striking. I had great fun and learnt a lot about DNA!

The Night shift at the Roundhouse in January was amazing too.

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager, Individual Giving

Without a doubt, the Iván Fischer Beethoven concerts in March – particularly at the Lincoln Center in New York where we gave two concerts as part of a complete cycle of the Symphonies with Iván’s “other” Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which gave two concerts as well.  The audience reaction and Iván’s inspiring and totally unique conducting style produced electrifying musical moments of the year.

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive

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Recent reviews

Thu 16 Dec 2010

Here are some reviews from our recent tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio:

The Guardian on 10 December concert at St. George’s Bristol

Bristol Evening Post on 10 December concert at St. George’s Bristol

Classical Source on 12 December concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Classical Music Blog from Robert Hugill on 12 December concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

If you were at one of our performances in London, Southampton, Bristol or Southwell, let us know what you thought!

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John Butt: Speed Interview

Tue 14 Dec 2010

John Butt is currently with us conducting our tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio which has its last performance tonight, in Southwell. We put our speed interview questions to him:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Well, I’ve had some fortunate opportunities in several aspects of my career, but I suppose as a conductor, the most significant was the first recording I did with the Dunedin Consort (Messiah in its Dublin version, 2006), which got a couple of major awards.

What do you fear the most?
In terms of performing, about which I tend to be quite intensive, it’s probably about having a complete energy block. This does happen often in everyday life (owing to an underlying condition) but never, so far, in performing or rehearsing. I suppose, in general, I fear most a decline in physical and mental abilities.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My wife, Sally’s, by a long way – she’s very fond of the phone.

What – or where – is perfection?
Difficult one – I tend to think of it as an infinite process rather than as something that’s ever achieved. Bach’s attitude to composition is an obvious example of this – I’m sure that if he were still alive he’d still be working on the same pieces. And, if perfection ever seems to be achieved, isn’t it often a little dull? Performing with period instruments is an excellent case in point: you give up some of the perfections of what some might see as technical ‘progress’ (in terms of both instruments and the playing techniques), but gain other types of perfection in terms of tone, intonation, articulation (and, not least, the enquiring attitude of the performer). With older types of tuning you get some intervals that are acoustically close to perfect, but others that definitely aren’t, and these often have expressive connotations – thereby heading in the direction of yet another type of perfection…

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