Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Handel the philanthropist – a special event with Laurence Cummings

Mon 28 Oct 2013

Charterhouse Great Chamber

Using music to raise money is today commonplace. Think Live Aid, think Busk Aid, or even look at superstars like Bono, Bob Geldof, Annie Lennox and, er Ginger Spice, who all are well known for their charitable activities.

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OAE at the BBC Proms

Mon 23 Apr 2012

BBC Proms 2012

One of the most closely guarded secrets in the classical music world is always what’s going to be on at the BBC Proms, so even though our appearances are planned some way in advance, no one aside from us in the office knows what we are doing until the big Proms announcement and launch. This year that launch took place last week, so we can now safely tell you that this year we’ll make not one but two appearances this year.

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Green March with the OAE

Tue 10 Apr 2012

March 2012 marked the second Green celebration period for the OAE. Following the success of Green week in February 2011, this time we expanded to a month. The self-elected office green team decided to focus on 3 strands of activity for the month; firstly we would look at our concert and touring activity in March, secondly we would focus on raising awareness amongst our colleagues, and thirdly all those green ideas we had been wanting to try out but hadn’t gotten round to in our busy schedules, would be prioritised on our to-do lists. Here’s a brief summary of what we got up to in Green Month:

Concert and touring activity
UK tour with Laurence Cummings
Following a couple of concerts in London in early March, our project with Laurence Cummings visited the Wiltshire Music Centre on 9 March and then Birmingham Town Hall on the 10th. In order to reduce our travel carbon footprint, we organised group train travel for the Orchestra. Since Wiltshire-Birmingham is not a journey you can do by train, a minibus was organised for the middle leg. If we hadn’t offered this then our players would have had no other choice than to drive themselves the entire tour. In the past this would have been something we would have just let be, but we are now making sure we look ahead at the schedule and allocate time to coordinate these extra initiatives in our busy admin to-do lists! It is definitely more work to organise green travel. Amazingly on this occasion the finances worked in our favour and were comparable to letting the players make their own arrangements.

Anthem for a Child, UK Schools Concert tour
The entire tour was a model for how sustainable touring schedule within the UK should be planned. The locations of the venues we visited were plotted in a logical order around the country, to ensure the least amount of travelling between venues. All too often our touring schedules are at the mercy of where promoters want us and when – for example we could be one day in Bristol, then Edinburgh, then Plymouth, before hurtling back to London via Paris… On this occasion OAE had the opportunity to work with the venues we visited to plot in a sensible way – travelling SW to N from Plymouth, Totnes, Wiltshire, Southampton, Hastings, London, Bury St Edmunds, Chesterfield and ending in York. It was the most efficient way of plotting nearly 1300 miles of driving. Since each day of the tour started with workshops in up to 5 different locations, organising group transport for the tour wasn’t possible so car-pooling was organised. On a tour with 25 people, a total of 8-10 cars across the tour were used at any one time. That included transporting all luggage, orchestral instruments including 2 harpsichords, all of the music, stands, banners and workshop material. 4 of the players on the tour, undertook an even greener travel option by sharing riding a tandem bike from Plymouth to York! This crazy initiative was part of a wider fundraising initiative ‘Musicians Miles’ as all members of the Orchestra and office have been getting active to raise money for this project. The target – 5000 miles between us. Some staff have been walking & cycling […]

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Baroque Giants: Bach – Audience Reaction

Thu 8 Mar 2012

On Sunday we performed an all-Bach concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and caught up with the audience afterwards to find out what they thought of it.

There are further chances to hear the concert in Bradford-on-Avon tomorrow, 9 March, and in Birmingham’s Town Hall on 10 March.

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The Works returns: trailer

Mon 5 Mar 2012

We’re excited that our new concert series, The Works, returns for a second outing tomorrow night at Southbank Centre.

The idea behind The Works is to give you the classical music equivalent of a gallery’s audio guide – a guided tour of selected classical masterpieces. At tomorrow’s event we’re featuring Bach’s Suite No.3 and Brandenburg Concerto No.5, with director Laurence Cummings and presenter Hannah Conway being your guides for the evening. Full info on the concert is available here

To whet your appetite for the event we’ve put together a little trailer, above.

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Laurence Cummings: Speed Interview

Tue 28 Feb 2012

After a very slight break for the OAE, we’re going on another tour, this time with Laurence Cummings who will be directing an all-Bach programme from the harpsichord.  In London we’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4 March, followed by The Night Shift on the same night and the programme also appears as  The Works on Tuesday 6 March. We’re also performing with Laurence at the Wiltshire Music Centre  (9 March) and Birmingham’s Town Hall (8 March).

We caught up with Laurence to ask him a few questions…

What/when was your big breakthrough?

I feel that my musical career has been one long and fortunate slow burn but the thing that really changed my musical life and was a catalyst in the process of becoming a conductor was being appointed Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in 1997. I have enjoyed working with the students so much over the years and learnt so much from them. In fact Matthew Truscott, the leader for these projects, was one of the first students I worked with at RAM. I am very proud of his amazing achievements and delighted to be sharing the concert platform with him!

What do you fear the most?
A life lived in fear is a life half-lived (quotation from the film Strictly Ballroom!), however I won’t go skiiing in case I break my arm or damage my hands. It doesn’t stop me dancing wildly at parties though!

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My boyfriend’s.

What – or where – is perfection?
A walk in the countryside with my boyfriend.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Mrs Madrigal from Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Hanging up my coat and putting down my bag when getting home.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
My mother. She has achieved the most extraordinary things in her life. After my father died tragically early, she raised three children with strength, courage and grace and went on to become a Macmillan nurse. On retirement only a year’s voluntary service overseas would do! Where? Siberia of course. She worked with hospices in Russia and helped to forge links with British palliative care teams, creating exchanges of medical equipment and information. She is also wonderful company and her favourite word is ‘fun’!

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
DIY.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Live in the moment. I was very taken, when reading Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Art of Living and Dying, with the quotation from William Blake ‘He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life destroy, But he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in Eternity’s sunrise’.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Bach’s Mass in B minor.

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
Where to start?!  With the OAE you can take the phenomenal standard of playing as a given, but what is so fascinating and energising is playing with musicians who have such a high level of […]

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February Podcast: Sir Mark Elder, Laurence Cummings and frothy tea…

Thu 9 Feb 2012

It’s time for the latest packed edition of the OAE podcast, this time with added snazzy intro music. In this edition we speak to Sir Mark Elder about Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, chat with Laurence Cummings about Bach, talk to composer Sally Beamish and writer Melanie Reid about Spinal Chords, a new piece for the OAE as part of the London 2012 celebrations, plus there’s a chat with OAE Digital Content Officer Zen Grisdale about his role at the OAE (including how he like his tea…) and lastly we talk on the phone to Double Bassist Cecelia Bruggemeyer about her top CD picks. Phew!

The podcast can be streamed or downloaded below and will also be available on itunes from tormorrow.

Full details of all our performances

OAE Podcast February 2012 by OAE

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Messiah in rehearsal

Tue 20 Dec 2011

Here’s a clip we posted online on Facebook a little while back but it’s only just made it onto our website, we’ve had such a backlog of things to blog about! Anyway, it’s some rather rough and ready footage from the rehearsal of Handel’s Messiah, which we performed at the Royal Festival Hall a few weeks ago, which which we recently also took to Utrecht. We hope you’ll excuse the rather basic camerawork – oh and yes, the Trumpet player IS allowed to be reading the paper, he’s probably not got anything to play for a while!

If you live in Paris there’s still a chance to catch our Messiah as we perform it there on Thursday 23 December.

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Recent reviews: 1700s London & Messiah

Wed 14 Dec 2011

Here’s a brief round-up of reviews. First up, two from our concert of Abel, Arne, J C bach and Haydn, with violinist Rachel Podger, 1700s London and the Fab Four.

Edward Seckerson Blog

Bach Track

And here’s some from our Messiah directed by Laurence Cummings, including a less than complimentary one in the Financial Times.  As ever, we’d love to know what you thought too.

Financial Times

The Times (subscribers only)

Audience Member blog

 

 

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Laurence Cummings on Handel’s Messiah

Mon 21 Nov 2011

Handel Messiah

In our latest video we talk to director Laurence Cummings about Handel’s Messiah which we perform in London on 6 December and also on tour. Laurence tells us why it’s such a special piece and what this performance will bring to it, and we also have a lot of fun taking the balloon concept of the Messiah postcard to whole new lengths…

 

Charles Jennens portrait © The Handel House Trust Ltd.

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OAE Patrons in Eisenstadt

Mon 28 Sep 2009

Earlier this month, I travelled with a group of our patrons to Austria for a performance by the OAE in the Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt. Haydn worked in the Esterházy for over 30 years and it seemed a perfect time for this trip to celebrate Haydn’s Bicentenary.

Day One
After a hassle-free flight to Vienna we travelled to Eisenstadt, which is approximately 1 hour from the airport. That evening we dined outdoors at a lovely restaurant directly opposite the Schloss Esterházy. We sat outside to make the most of the balmy evening but blankets were a nice touch as the night turned cooler.

Day Two
Morning walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, Haydn Mausoleum and Schloss Esterházy, along with hordes of other tourists. The patrons then spent the afternoon in Hungary and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Eszterháza.

We were all very excited about hearing the Orchestra perform in the Haydnsaal. As always, the Orchestra played beautifully and the acoustics were simply superb. Following the concert, Laurence Cummings and some of the other players from the OAE joined us for a hearty feast. We enjoyed a seasonal dinner, starting with pumpkin soup, which was the best I have ever had!

Day Three
Back to London with long delays checking into Heathrow…

Claire Lenyk, Development Manager, Individual Giving

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Eisenstadt

Tue 22 Sep 2009

A couple of pics from our trip to Eisenstadt last week – showing the Palace and conductor Laurence Cummings chatting with Ton Koopman of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra who were also performing there. A full report coming soon!

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Haydn in Oxford: Times review

Fri 13 Mar 2009

Click here for a more ‘official’ review from The Times.

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Haydn in Oxford: audience review

Fri 13 Mar 2009

An audience members review from our concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 10 March:

I am not really qualified to pass comment on the performance of the OAE as I am a very amateur musician (I pay to be allowed to play the trumpet and as far as my wife is concerned, the best present she ever gave to me was a practice mute), however, I was at the concert so here goes……

A few gripes first:

My seat had been sold to someone else as well as me! The other person let me have the seat (thank you) and was then re-seated in a much better position (a just reward).

The QEH was a bit on the warm side.

The stage was very squeaky under the foot of one of the soloists as she stood up to play.

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Rehearsal photo gallery

Tue 10 Mar 2009

Here are a few pics from yesterday’s rehearsal with Laurence Cummings in Hall 2, at our Kings Place HQ. The concert is tonight at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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