Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Instagram Rss YouTube
Get news and offers Search...

You’re hired! New Melgaard OAE Young Conductor announced

Mon 19 Dec 2011

Following a stringent audition process, Belgian David Reiland, 31, has been appointed the Melgaard OAE Young Conductor for the 2012-2013 season. He fought off competition from over 60 applicants from across the world to make it to our auditions (Which Projects Director Ceri blogged about) where he and four other finalists rehearsed and conducted the OAE in front of a panel of judges drawn from OAE musicians.

David will ‘live’ with the OAE for a year working with our Principal Artists and guest conductors. He’s the fourth conductor on the scheme – last years conductor, Kevin Griffiths was recently appointed Artistic Director the Collegium Musicum Basel and the previous years conductor, Eduardo Portal, recently made his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

Read the full Press Release here.

Read More

My day as Dermot…

Wed 23 Nov 2011

Ceri Jones as Dermot

OK well not quite.  I didn’t get to rub shoulders with Tulisa, Kelly Rowland, Gary Barlow (swoon) and Louis Walsh (err…that’s not so impressive), but the other week (when the OAE held its fourth annual auditions for the Melgaard Young Conductor scheme, our equivalent of the ‘X Factor’) I did get to spend a whole day meeting five fascinating and diverse young conductors, introducing them to the Orchestra (the Dermot bit) and working alongside the very dedicated OAE player selection panel.

I’ve been involved with the Young Conductor Scheme since its inception four years ago, and I always immensely enjoy the audition day, after months of administering all the applications, this is the fun part – getting to hear and see them in action!  Throughout the day five different conductors had an hour to impress the Orchestra and the panel in typical OAE repertoire including a movement of a Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven Symphony as well as the Count’s Recitative and Aria from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro – with bass soloist Ashley Riches.  It struck me at 5.30pm that the day had literally flown by, and that I’d not only had the opportunity of spending the entire day listening to some wonderful music, but I’d also spent the day playing ‘Dermot O’Leary’ to the next generation of great conductors.

Stay tuned to find out which conductor was selected…

Read More

The Apprentice (conductor). The search is on.

Tue 14 Jun 2011

2010-2011 Melgaard young conductor Kevin Griffiths


There are just a matter of weeks left to apply to our OAE Melgaard Young Conductor Scheme.  The scheme has been running now for 4 years, and gives budding young conductors the opportunity to nestle up close with the OAE, observing rehearsals alongside great OAE conductors, getting to know and share knowledge with players, and also gaining an insight into the behind the scenes operations in the office (the most exciting part in my humble opinion…)  Through an application and audition process one conductor will be chosen at the audition day this October (not quite like X-factor but almost as exciting).  The conductor will work with the OAE from the autumn for a period of 9-12 months.

For me this part of the scheme’s schedule is both the most exciting and the most overwhelming.  Exciting because you never quite know where from and how many applications are going to come flooding in –  will the next young Vladimir Jurowski or Sir Simon Rattle be amongst the pile of applications?  We usually get in the range of 100 applications so you can imagine the admin that goes with that….That’s 100 DVD packages arriving on my desk, 100 application forms, 100 CV’s, and 100 support letters.  Anyway – that’s the fun of the job J and as we sometimes say in the office ‘today I’m putting the admin into arts admin’.

Watch this space for future developments… (and find out more details of how to apply here)

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

Read More

One down, three to go!

Wed 9 Feb 2011

Last night saw the first of our From a dream to revolution concerts, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It kicked off our green tour, and also saw our very first live stream take place (let us know what you thought if you saw it). The concert got a great reception from a sold out hall, and today sees a slightly tired team back in the office, and the Orchestra speeding up to the Lake District on the train for tonight’s concert in Keswick. Up in Keswick David Zinman is replaced by Eduardo Portal, who some of you may remember was our Melgaard Young Conductor last season.

Below are some pictures from last night, plus Orchestra Manager Philippa with our hired in transit van. Usually, for players with large instruments, it’s up to them to get their instruments to the venue (oviosuly we do transport them for them when we tour overseas!), resulting in many cars being driven to Bristol, Birmingham or wherever it may be. As a small Orchestra we don’t have the luxury of a big truck like the symphony orchestras do! But this time, to save carbon emissions, we’re putting all the large instruments in one van, which Philippa is (at this very moment) driving up to the Lake District. We did joke about buying her some pink fluffy dice to go with her transit van…

Next stop: Sheffield

William Norris, Communications Director

Read More

Launching the new season

Mon 31 Jan 2011

If you had dropped a bomb on the Royal Festival Hall last Friday, at around 11am, then you would have wiped out a very large section of London’s classical music life. Why? Well last Friday was the press launch of the 2011-2012 classical season at Southbank Centre. I’m sure to the assembled ranks of journalists that this all seemed very normal and routine, but the fact is a huge amount of work goes into not just the organisation of an event like this, but in getting the seasons of four Resident Orchestras ready in time, so they can all be launched at exactly the same time, and go on sale all together three days later. For the OAE launching this early in the year is something of a novelty, as until recently we’d do it in a much more leisurely fashion. Maybe in April…May…just whenever we got it all together really.

But obviously we make a lot more impact if we launch our new season together with the other Residents: LPO, Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta and also together with the various series that the Southbank Centre puts on too.

Pictured below (thanks to Sam Dub for the pics) are the various speakers for the event – including Marshall Marcus, who not very long ago was the OAE’s Chief Executive. We, as you know, don’t have a Principal Conductor, so we asserted our difference and had a player representing us – a huge thank you to OAE Leader Matthew Truscott for volunteering – he did a great job, though he did remark he was far more nervous than he ever gets when playing his violin!

Obviously we were excited about our own season, but its also fun to hear whatevery one else is putting on – and we were especially excited to see that Eduardo Portal, our Melgaard Young Conductor last season, is featuring in the LPO’s season – congratulations to him! There will definitely be an OAE crowd there cheering him on on 25 November.

Some boring small print: Friends of the OAE have priority booking till 21 Feb – we’ll be posting full details of everything then. If you want to sign up to the Friends give us a buzz! 020 7239 9382. There’s also a cheaper Priority Bookers option for £15.

Already there has been some coverage:



Evening Standard

William Norris, Communications Director

Read More

Rattle in rehearsal

Tue 3 Aug 2010

Here’s a few pics we took while in rehearsal at the Royal Albert Hall for our BBC Proms performance last Sunday. In the last couple you can see our Melgaard OAE Young Conductor Eduardo Portal on the podium – he probably took over for a bit so that Sir Simon could check the balance further back in the hall. On the night Eduardo conducted the off stage horns in Tristan and Isolde.

Read More

The June Podcast

Tue 22 Jun 2010

Our June OAE podcast is now here, and is, if we say so ourselves a rather good listen. In it, we take a trip to Glyndebourne, catch up with OAE Education Director Cherry to talk about our fantastic Creation project and related Family Concert, chat with Eduardo Portal, the current Melgaard OAE Young Conductor and finally we talk to Eric Richmond (photographer) and Chris Harrison (designer) who are behind our much-talked-about gaffer tape pics.

Or search for us on itunes.

Read More

In the Green Room: Karen Robinson pics, part 1

Thu 17 Jun 2010

A while back, photographer Karen Robinson was commissioned by Southbank Centre to take pictures of the Resident Orchestras and their major artists, with a view to using the images for the Southbank Centre’s 2010-2011 Classical Music Season. You may well have already seen the photographs in the Southbank’s Classical Music Guide. As part of the project, Karen spent a day with the OAE as we rehearsed and performed Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The results are fantastic, and a wonderful glimpse into what happens backstage at a concert. Here’s an initial selection (from the afternoon rehearsal), and more will follow.

William Norris, Marketing Director

Read More

Night Shift pics

Tue 8 Jun 2010

Here’s a selection of pics from our last Night Shift event which was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 25 May. Support for the evening came from Firefly, while the main concert featured the Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Symphony 6, with our Melgaard Young Conductor Eduardo Portal at the helm, making his public debut with us. We wrapped things up with a set from DJ Nick Luscombe. We’ll have more pics and our Night Shift ‘Pod Idol’ competition on here very soon, and if you’re a Night Shift fan keep an eye on the website as we will be announcing our special summer event in the next few weeks. All pics here are by Joe Plommer, and you can view the full gallery of pics here.

Read More

Youth to shine on Night Shift

Fri 21 May 2010

Here’s yesterday’s Evening Standard’s coverage of Eduardo Portal making his debut at The Night Shift on Tuesday.

Read More

Eduardo Portal: speed interview

Tue 18 May 2010

Eduardo Portal

Read More

The dog ate my homework…

Wed 21 Apr 2010

And other stories….  Spring again, so time for another dose of applications to the OAE’s apprentice conductor scheme, The Melgaard OAE Young Conductor Scheme.

The volume of applicants was way up on last year (2010/11 will be the 3rd year of  the application process) so we had a huge task in the Projects team to process everything.  Both our trusty Graduate Intern Jo and myself waded our way through literally hundreds of e-mails and DVD’s arriving in the post.  I think us and the FedEx man could be on first name terms!

Mid March; and with the deadline looming I had an incredible amount of incomplete applications.  The application requires a cover letter, application form, CV, and two letters of support.  All of this was required via e-mail (must be better for the environment).  A DVD with excerpts of their conducting was also a required component.  With all these missing components and failed attempts to send DVDs that actually work (top tip – check the DVD works before you mail it) I couldn’t resist sharing with you some excerpts from e-mails in explanation of not having everything in on time.  Name and locations shall remain nameless…

Read More

Got an itch? You better Scratch it…

Fri 16 Apr 2010

Excitedly on the eve of our first Scratch Orchestra event, I am feeling the need to blog.  It seems no time at all since last October when what seemed like a mad idea for the event sprang to mind.  I was at Southbank Centre listening to a performance of Mahler 4, which in this version was scored for a group of chamber players.  During the Symphony (I tend to think of things when I’m relaxed – usually in the shower or out on a run!) I had an idea that you needn’t necessarily have a full Symphony Orchestra to convey a piece of classical music, and with a random group of musicians (which we have in the OAE Administration team) it just might be possible for us to perform something like this.  Shelving this for a bit my imagination ran a bit riot then when we were thinking of supplementary events to add interest to our week of Beethoven at Kings Place.  We would have access to a beautiful hall to rehearse in, we could make use of our Young Conductor who was around that week, and invite other office workers in the building and surrounding area to come and play some Beethoven in a long lunch break (it is a Friday after all).  We could use an OAE leader and some other players from the orchestra.  Once word had spread some OAE players even suggested to come and play but not on their OAE instruments. What an opportunity!

Read More

The Apprentice starts work…

Wed 9 Sep 2009

You may have read recently about our new Apprentice Conductor, Eduardo Portal. Well, Eduardo, whose official title is the  Melgaard OAE Young Conductor, recently started his year with the OAE, and here are his first impressions:

First day of rehearsals, my first day as assistant conductor of the OAE. The orchestra starts to play. What a sound! It is so alive! What is that wave moving around the rehearsal venue? Is it wind? Or water? Something must be happening, something that I have never experienced before. What is it? It feels like an injection of life inside my veins; my adrenaline goes up to high levels. I cannot remain sitting on my chair, I must stand up, my excitement is too much to be sitting down. There I go, walking around the players and trying to find out what that phenomenon is. Is it the period instruments which cause such an effect? Maybe it is the players, or perhaps the conductor, it could also be the piece!

Now I know what it is. It is their way of making music! They all move together and produce this wonderful wave of sound going up and down as the piece evolves. Their phrasing is stunning! They all feel the direction of the music in the same way and contribute to create a wonderful and dynamic performance. It is as if the music were happening in this moment for the first and last time in the history, as if the piece were being composed while played and at the same time, being mastered with a superb performance.

Read More

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

Read More