Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Current Distractions

Fri 10 Jul 2015

Our increasingly irregular arts blog, Current Distractions, is back. This week I’m looking at expressing disapproval, arts and politics in the news, classical CD Sales (or lack of), movers and shakers and lastly, graffiti wars.

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Bryn, croissants and ladykillers: Launching the new season

Tue 24 Jan 2012

Yesterday morning much of the classical music press, together with famous musical names and a legion of Orchestra CEO’s and other behind-the-scenes staff gathered in the glamorously named ‘Level 5 Function Room’ at the Royal Festival Hall for the launch of the 2012-2013 concert season. As our regular attenders will know, the Southbank Centre is host to four Resident Orchestras: us (of course), the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia and the London Sinfonietta. For several years now we’ve worked together to coordinate the launch of our various seasons – together with the Southbank’s own series: Shell Classic International, the International Chamber Music Series and the International Piano Series. Coordinating it like this makes things a lot simpler for audiences, the press, and indeed all of us!

Getting everything ready on time is no mean feat – and there are some horrifying / amazing spreadsheets that timetable everything down to the last day – when we get our concert details over to the Southbank Centre, when we confirm ticket prices, copy and pictures for each concert (for Southbank Centre’s website and Classical Guide), what seats we need for sponsors, and so on. At Southbank’s end it means that 200 or so events have to be set up on their box office system and website – which is no mean feat. Especially when people like me make a mistake with the pricing structure I originally sent over…

Anyway – doing it all together like this also means we can have a big press launch and hopefully get the classical music press enthused as to what we’re up to in the next 12-18 months. So we all gathered yesterday morning for coffee and croissants and heard from various people about what’s in store. Jude Kelly, the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre kicked off proceedings and was closely followed by the Southbank Centre’s new Head of Classical Music Gillian Moore. Next up was Vladimir Jurowski who talked about the LPO’s new season (my personal highlight: two concerts with Marin Alsop with some very esoteric repertoire, and Vladimir himself combining the LPO and Russian National Orchestra) before rushing off to rehearse the LPO in the Festival Hall right next door. Next it was the turn of the Philharmonia and Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who talked touchingly and amusingly about the composer Lutoslawski. His music is a feature of their new season – as is a performance marking the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring. I’m excited that they are also bringing back their excellent Re-Rite installation to London to coincide with this.

The London Sinfonietta, our office buddies here at Kings Place, were next (personal highlight – a new piece by Steve Reich based on songs by Radiohead) and then it was us in the spotlight! Vice-Chairman and viola player Martin Kelly did an excellent job in the three whole minutes that had been allotted to him, and our series title of Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers even got a laugh.

Lastly we had a special guest – Bryn Terfel, who is not just appearing in several concerts but is also putting on a whole Welsh festival at Southbank Centre. Including a food market. Yum.

So, what do we have in store? Well I’m going to be mean and leave that for a post tomorrow…sorry!

William […]

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Taking pride

Thu 8 Sep 2011

Taking pride

I might have just been paranoid, but I’m pretty sure that when I stood up and took this picture in a meeting, announcing that I was going to write a blog article, that everyone thought I was a bit mad. And probably wondered how I was going to make this meeting sound in any way interesting to people.

But I thought that you, our readers, fans and concert-goers might be interested in some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on at the OAE, and indeed, other Orchestras.

This relates a little to a favourite anecdote of our CEO, Stephen. He was asked at some function-or-other if being Chief Executive of the OAE was a full-time job. The person asking was pretty surprised when he said yes, and even more surprised when he said it was also a full time job for the 17 others in the office too.

So when you look at the Orchestra’s staff list in the concert programme you may well be thinking ‘what do all these people actually do?!’

Well, in the Communications team, one of the things we do is (and this may come as a surprise to you) talk and plan with other Orchestras and our main London venue, Southbank Centre. This is where Pride comes in. Pride is not anything to do with a march or a type of bread but is instead, rather more mundanely, the name of the regular marketing meeting the four Resident Orchestras; the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta and ourselves, have with Southbank Centre. The name ‘Pride’ comes from around 10 years ago, when these meetings first started off life as a group working on exhibiting ‘pride’ in the Resident Orchestras.

We have these about every 4-6 weeks and use it as a way of coordinating things like the launch of each season, mailings, bringing up any issues with things like leaflet racks or plasma screens, sharing audience research findings and so on.

At the meeting in question we were talking about one of the more exciting things we work on and one thing where we definitely all make a joint effort – the start of the classical season. We’re always keen to make a bit of a splash with this, to alert the concert-going public that the Proms are over and it’s time for the start of the ‘proper’ (!) classical season. Not only that but we all want to raise our profiles and remind people that while other very good venues exist in London, Southbank Centre really does offer an unrivalled choice and breadth of classical performance.

So, we’ve been talking in recent meetings about the scope of the campaign – should it be a tube campaign as we did last year? Or should it be more rooted on the Southbank Centre site? We went for the latter. We’ve also been talking about which pictures to use for the campaign, and the re-development of the Classical mini-site on the Southbank Centre website. This is going to feature a video trailer for the new season, so we’ve talked about what that should contain and all contributed footage for it. We’ve also engaged an agency to help promote the launch of the site and the new season online. Everything is progressing nicely now – so expect […]

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