Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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French Impressionists with Sir Simon Rattle. Tour video diary – No.1

Fri 17 Aug 2012

Back in June we were on tour with Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle, visiting Paris, Rotterdam, Brussels, Cologne and Hamburg with a programme of Fauré, Ravel and Debussy.

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OAE staff take centre stage at the Olympics

Thu 26 Jul 2012

Yes, it’s time for the back-office staff of the OAE to get their moment on stage, and in the spotlight. Three members of the OAE office team are set to play in part in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony tomorrow night.

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Trains, planes and coaches…a year of touring.

Tue 19 Jun 2012

Train plane and coach - OAE touring

Some number crunching from the Projects Team…

I seem to spend a large amount of my time on the phone to the travel agent/on skyscanner (my new favourite website)/at Heathrow checking people in for their flight and it got me thinking, just how much travel does the orchestra actually do?

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Megan’s Alphabet Challenge (AKA the A-Z of touring)

Thu 18 Aug 2011

While on tour in Holland earlier this year we set OAE Projects Manager Megan Russell a challenge. She’d taken our little camera with her to take footage – but could she somehow find a complete A-Z of things in the tour?

Here’s the result, and we have to admit that its one of our favourite videos. Particular highlights include E for Enclosing Dyke and B for ‘is it Broken?’…

Enjoy!

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Planes, trains and automobiles (well no planes, not til the following day anyway)

Mon 8 Aug 2011

The cause of all our transport problems... The landslide outide at East Croydon station

On Monday, players and management got caught up in the chaos of the landslide at East Croydon station. Here’s how we got (most of!) them to the performance on time, with a few stand-ins in unusual places…

[Curtain up was supposed to be at 5.15…]

How Megan (Projects Manager, standing in for Philippa, the Orchestra Manager) got to Glyndebourne:

Departure: 11.55 from Vauxhall (She was hoping to have a swim before the show!|)

Train Vauxhall – Clapham Junction

Train Clapham Junction – East Croydon

Oh dear, about 1000 people waiting for rail replacement bus services to Gatwick Airport outside the station and no taxis to be found…

Walk to West Croydon

Train West Croydon – Sutton

Train Sutton – Dorking (made the train by about 1 minute)

[Briefly met her Mum to pick up some bits for tour the following day!]

Train Dorking Deepdene – Redhill

Train Redhill – Gatwick Airport

It’s now about 3.30…

Train Gatwick Airport – Brighton (Stopping at EVERY station en route)

Train Brighton – Lewes

Taxi to Glyndebourne

Arrival: 4.45

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Get to know the OAE: Part 11

Thu 4 Aug 2011

Megan Russell

Sorry, we haven’t put one of these up for a while, but the OAE have been just too darned busy!

This week, we speak to Projects Manager, Megan Russell:

What’s your role in the OAE office? Not sure if I can answer this one ‘quickly’! My job covers so many different areas – booking flights, accommodation and sorting touring logistics, fixing players, booking rehearsal venues, managing rehearsals, managing concerts, touring, doing airport check-ins, running the OAE Experience scheme for young players, organising auditions, unjamming the photocopier as I sit right next to it!

What does your typical day involve?

I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day in the projects team. Normally I’ll get to work first thing and look over my emails, if I’m in the office, I’ll spend the rest of the day working on either last minute preparations for a current project, or forward planning future projects. Sometimes I am out and about at meetings, or managing rehearsals which are all over London and take place at all hours of the day.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

Sadly, I think last time I checked, it was someone in the office! Probably Philippa, our Orchestra Manager as she is out and about so much.

What – or where – is perfection?

I’ve thought about this one for a while and I really don’t know what the answer is.

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Glyndebourne: tea and er, yoga

Fri 15 Jul 2011

Violinist Helen Kruger with cellist Sebastian Comberti

A couple of fairly random things sent in by our Projects Manager Megan Russell. First up, a poster advertising a session called ‘free your playing’ which OAE Horn player Martin Lawrence has been running at Glyndebourne – probably best described as sort-of Yoga, the class aims to improve players physical well-being, posture etc.

Second up is some fine china – of course! It was bought by violinist Helen Kruger at the market in Kings Lynn when we did our family concert at the Corn Exchange there a few weeks
back. It was a Tuesday, and in fact the address of the Corn Exchange is actually ‘Tuesday Market Place’! Helen didn’t want to take them home on the train so instead gave them to a colleague who was driving – Helen and tea set were reunited down in Glyndebourne and it made for an especially posh cup of tea in the players ‘Courtyard Cafe’!

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Rattle tour – Megan's pics

Mon 4 Jul 2011

The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

OAE Projects Manager Megan Russell is a keen photographer and took some great pictures from the Luxembourg and Paris legs of the tour – here are a selection:

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There's nothing interesting happening today

Wed 27 Apr 2011

At lunchtime today my colleague Megan produced 10 metres of hand-made bunting from her bag (as you do). We were all pretty impressed with it and immediately started to put it up in the office. While we were doing this my colleague Zen starting filming and taking pictures – I remarked that it would be great to get some pictures for the blog as ‘there’s nothing else interesting going on today to put on there’. At this point Megan remarked to me that in fact there was a 50 piece orchestra rehearsing two floors below us and that was maybe quite interesting.

Of course she’s right.  Its amazing how quickly something like that becomes routine and ordinary, and you have to be reminded how special it is. After lunch I took the escalator down to level -2 here at Kings Place to listen to the Orchestra, conductor Roy Goodman and pianist Artur Pizzaro rehearse Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto. Lovely as Megan’s bunting is, listening to the OAE play Beethoven is always going to trump most things. Here are pics of both bunting and rehearsal.

William Norris, Communications Director


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Inbox hell

Wed 9 Mar 2011

Our Projects Manager, Megan, just wanted to share her inbox with you. This is what happens when you’re organising 3 overseas tours simultaneously. Each email here represents an individual itinerary for one of the tours. Megan is in remarkably good spirits considering…

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The OAE staff lowdown on Cherubini

Tue 2 Nov 2010

Leading up to the OAE’s forthcoming concert French Connections at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 9th November, we decided to play a piece from the programme to OAE office staff and film their reactions.  These are the responses from listening to Cherubini’s Overture Medée: 

Watch the Cherubini youtube clip we played them below and let us know your comments!

More info and tickets to French Connections concert on 9th November 2010 at QEH:  http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/music/classical/tickets/orchestra-of-the-age-of-enlightenment-50651

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REMIX comes together

Wed 13 Oct 2010

Yesterday morning was the culmination of what seems like months if not years of work for our concert on Saturday night. A little more complicated than usual, this concert is a mixture of OAE and London Sinfonietta players (our very distant relations who we share an office with). As part of having our headquarters at Kings Place, we put on several concerts here throughout the year and this week is our REMIX festival, mixing all sorts of old and new including mixing up the two orchestras. This all started many moons ago when we decided to have an orchestra made up of players from both orchestras. After working out how to split the booking between the two orchestras, we then had to find OAE players who were happy to dust off their modern instruments to play some 20th century music – Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and a new commission by Richard Causton. Fixing a project with just one orchestra involved presents enough challenges, but dealing with two orchestras whose playing spheres never overlap presented quite a few more! Eventually we managed a final orchestra list, a final seating plan, the right music (we were helpfully sent the whole of the Pulcinella ballet parts instead of just the suite to start with!) and a rehearsal plan.

Sitting and listening to the rehearsal yesterday, it was really interesting to see a rare sight, OAE and LS players sitting side by side, and even stranger to see OAE players playing modern instruments. The rarest thing, however, was when the conductor, Nick Collon, announced that Richard Causton would be coming to the afternoon rehearsal – it’s not very often that the composer of the music OAE is playing turns up to a rehearsal!

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

Find out more about REMIX by downloding the brochure here.



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Staff picks: 2010-2011 concerts

Thu 7 Oct 2010

In what’s now become an annual feature we asked office staff here at the OAE which concerts in the upcoming season they are particularly looking forward to – and here’s what they said. Oh, and you can hear more of these from the horses mouths (so to speak) in our new Podcast.

“I’m very excited to hear the Mozart programme on 24 Nov. It has an amazing cast of singers and I am interested to see how the new narration that was written especially for this performance works.”

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager, Individual Giving

“I can’t quite decide between these 2 which will be my top picks of the Season.  I was immediately drawn to the Vladimir Jurowski concert (21 Jan) because OAE in this later repertoire is such an exciting occasion – it only tends to happen once or twice a year so is definitely one to savour.  We already know that the orchestra sound fantastic and different playing Wagner from the Tristan project this Summer, and as I’ve never heard the OAE play Mahler OR Liszt before, that is something new to look forward to.  I had super fun playing Les Preludes about 12 years ago and I can still remember all the tunes!

Mozart’s Die Entfuhrung will be a first for me also and I’ve spent so much time working on the details for it over the last few months I can’t wait to hear it all come together.  The opportunity to hear the newly commission English narration by Simon Butteriss (which is currently sitting on my desk!) will I hope give it an exciting new dimension.”

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

“Think it’s got to be the 21 January 2010 concert with the legendary Vladimir Jurowski- I can’t wait to see what the OAE do with a bit of Mahler and Liszt! I also love Sarah Connolly’s voice after hearing her in our recent prom with Sir Simon Rattle :-)”

Natasha Stehr, Marketing and Press Officer

“I’m really looking forward to the Grand Tour of Italy programme on 20 October. Whilst I love the energy of the OAE on a massive scale, I have a soft spot for these smaller self-direct programmes. Being in the audience for these programmes is like being a member of the ensemble, they have a feeling of such intimacy that it feels like you are on the stage with them. As a cellist myself, I am also biased towards this programme as there is a cello concertos in it!”

Megan Russell, Projects Officer

View and book the whole 2010-2011 Southbank Season here

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Creation in Brighton

Wed 16 Jun 2010

Here are some pics from Monday’s Creation Education project, a joint effort with Brighton Early Music Festival. The orchestra rehearsed on their own in the morning in St George’s Church, Kemp Town, Brighton. We were then joined by 250 school children in the afternoon, who were EXTREMELY well behaved. At 6pm we were joined by all their parents who were queuing around the block to come and hear them sing some Turkish songs and Part 1 of Haydn’s Creation.

After the performance I nipped down to the beach (looking and feeling very out of place trying to carry my wheelie suitcase down the pebbly beach!) to meet the bassoonist, Zoe and Rebecca, and Lizzy, one of the singers. They were keeping Zoe company as she had decided to go for a swim.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

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OAE NYC – Part 2

Fri 26 Mar 2010

Well I am back at Alice Tully Hall in the orchestra manager’s room typing this on day two of our trip to New York. Last night’s concert went really well, we had a standing ovation from the audience and the players and Iván were really pleased with it.  After another New Yorker breakfast of waffles and fruit (very tasty!) with the girls from the Development team we have an open rehearsal this morning for the friends of the Lincoln Center. We also have some members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) listening to the rehearsal, they are completing the Beethoven Symphony Cycle with us here. Iván called me into his dressing room this morning, he was very pleased as his ‘touring wardrobe’ had arrived with the BFO. A flight case complete with suit, iron, ironing board, baton drawer and coffee maker!

Our second and final concert is tonight, we will be performing symphonies nos. 1, 8 and 5. I’m hoping to sneak into the audience and listen for a bit tonight once I have done my backstage duties here as the hall is fantastic. Before that, I’ve got a bit of free time this afternoon so I think I’ll take in a few more of the sights – yesterday I managed to fit in Times Square, the Rockerfeller Centre, Grand Central station and ‘World of M&Ms’ – so tacky you couldn’t help but like it! So I’m going to head down to the southern tip of Manhatten and take the Staten Island ferry and see the Statue of Liberty.

I was very pleased to find out yesterday that our return flights for tomorrow were not cancelled (we are travelling on British Airways!!!) so the final instalment will come next week when we have arrived back in the UK.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

(editors note – watch out for further NYC news from Nick Logie in the Orchestra very soon)



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An unexpected trip to NYC

Fri 26 Mar 2010

Megan, our Projects Manager, got an unexpected trip to NYC with the Orchestra this week. One of the violinists was unwell so we had a spare place, so after weeks of processing visa applications it was only fair that Megan got to go! Yesterday she sent us a quick report:

Well the orchestra is now safely installed and rehearsing. Philippa and I unloaded the van this morning with all the gear. We had a yummy NY breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs and maple syrup and then came back to the hall and the tech crew had done the set up for us. They are really great here, really friendly and seem to be on top of everything. Andrea and Lisa were here at 8am so met both of them. Will swing by the Empire (It is literally right across the road) (ed’s note – Empire is the hotel we usually stay at but was too expensive this time!), the Lucerne (the hotel we are at this time) is about a 10 minute walk and is quite nice. I’ll also go and check out ink48 too (another hotel we are checking out for our next trip here)

The gala event last night was fantastic. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. Thompson Reuters put on a great dinner and the view was fab – on the 30th floor. The players presentation went really well, I think they were really pleased with it all. Hope all is well at mission control, say hi to the gang.

Philippa, our Orchestra Manager also emailed us a few pics:

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Top OAE moments of 2009

Wed 27 Jan 2010

With the end of another year just passed, we took the chance to ask members of the office team about their top OAE moments of 2009:

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive
“In August and September 2009, as part of the OAE’s year-long homage to Haydn in his bi-centenary year, we visited the composer’s two P(a)laces of Employment: Esterhaza in Hungary and Eisenstadt in Austria.  On a swelteringly hot day in Esterhaza we performed an all-Haydn programme in the same room in which most of Haydn’s symphonies were premiered.  We had a guided tour of the Esterhazy Palace and saw the room where the Empress Maria-Theresa stayed, and performed “her” symphony (No 48 in C) later the same evening.  In the front row of the audience sat Prince Paul Esterhazy, a direct descendant of Haydn’s Patron, Prince Nicholas Esterhazy.  A real connection with a golden period in music history.  It doesn’t get much better than that!”

Clare Norburn, Development Manager
The Haydn programme with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and especially the ambience in The Night Shift that night – it was electric!

On a personal note: the moment when I opened the envelope to find we had raised £100,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for the development of The Night Shift over 3 years

Natasha Stehr, Marketing and Press Officer
My 2009 highlights: becoming part of our office’s Running Club and actually sticking with it- OAE marathon next year?!  We had so many great concerts this year, it’s hard to pick one as my favourite, but if I had to choose it would have to be Marin Alsop and the OAE playing Charles Ives’ Unanswered Question as part of our Deconstructing Mozart event on the 5 Dec…a once in a lifetime moment!

Ceri Jones, Projects Manager
An office one
“the first outing for the Kings Place running club back in April.  Little did I know it would be met with so much enthusiasm, and that 8 months later a small clique would still be up and running (not sure what I can say about those that have given up, but at least they showed some initial enthusiasm and perhaps they will be tempted again in the New Year…)

A tour-related but not musical one
Having fun experiencing American mid-west culture and the most extreme cold in my life with the OAE & London Sinfonietta in Minneapolis back in January.

An actual musical one
The Creation before Christmas.  Managed to blag a seat in the auditorium rather than marching around backstage, and was blown away by the sheer volume of the orchestra and choir in that ‘let there be light’ bit!  It will stay with me for a while…

& Not so top moments
Getting up at 4am to get home from Berlin on Good Friday – way less than 24hrs after leaving London the previous day.  Ouch.

The snow day in Feb last year.  Sitting at my desk helplessly trying to get an orchestra and choir to the canary islands whilst others in the world were skiving off work ‘unable to get to work and playing in the snow 

Megan Russell, Projects Manager
I’m not sure if it my absolute ‘top moment’ artistically speaking, but a very memorable moment was when the […]

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Cultural cat

Thu 10 Dec 2009

In preparation for our Haydn Creation concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night we rehearsed for a few days in Cecil Sharpe House, in a leafy street just by Regents Park. I arrived at the rehearsal the other morning to find an extra special member of the orchestra purring around the hall. A local cat had managed to sneak into the rehearsal room and was making friends with various members of the Orchestra, including Anthony Bailey (one of our young players on the Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience scheme) who is in the photo. Unfortunately we couldn’t let it stay for the rehearsal as it had a bell around its neck which might have been a little distracting!

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

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Suffolk bound

Tue 18 Aug 2009

Last week Ceri (our Projects Manager) and I headed off to the Suffolk coast to visit Snape Maltings and the picturesque town of Aldeburgh. The purpose of our trip was an exchange of ideas with the management team at Aldeburgh Music about our respective programmes for young artists. At the OAE we run the Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience for young players scheme and the Melgaard young conductor scheme. Both schemes offer their participants the opportunity to ‘live’ with the Orchestra for the year, attending rehearsals, taking part in concerts and being treated as professional musicians. At Snape, they run the Britten Pears Orchestra, the Britten Pears Baroque Orchestra, various masterclasses and have an assistant conductor programme.

We spent our day there sitting in on sectional and tutti rehearsals and talking to the team there about the way they run their course. This was all set against the beautiful backdrop of the old maltings buildings and the reed beds and canals that surround the centre. We were lucky enough to stay overnight in Aldeburgh and managed some early morning runs along the beach that inspired Benjamin Britten to write Peter Grimes (a bit different to our canal side runs at lunch time in Kings Cross!)

We were also lucky enough to be treated to an OAE concert the evening that we were there as the Orchestra was performing in the concert hall there as part of the Snape Proms.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

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Three little letters of dread

Fri 17 Jul 2009

USA. Three little letters that fill any orchestra’s planning department monkeys with dread. For the players this means a nice little jaunt to see our American cousins, perhaps some cricket in Central Park (using period timp legs for stumps – it has been done!), or a chance for a cheeky holiday, but the process for getting them all there is a nightmare.

The first part of the process is getting the ‘petition’ and we do this about six months before the trip. We have to submit everyone’s details (passport details, date of birth, nationality, address, place of birth, inside leg measurement…) to the concert hall who submit them to the federal bureau for something-or-other who submit them to the department for making sure that no-one dodgy is let into the land of the free.

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