Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Berlioz, Basingstoke and baguettes

Wed 29 Feb 2012

I’m sitting writing this blog on a ridiculously warm Sunday February afternoon underneath the Eiffel Tower.   Sounds glamorous?  Well actually, I do feel quite amazed and lucky to be spending my weekend this way, though the 5.50am start this morning has left me a bit out of it, as has the eight day run of concerts we’ve been doing this week…still, it’s a fairly fantastic thing when you’re invited to go to Paris with a supersize OAE and two choruses, totalling about 250 performers altogether, in a massive production of Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées.  We’ve been touring this mammoth piece in four locations this week: first at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 February (read the reviews from the night here), then to the Anvil in Basingstoke on 23 February, a Night Shift at the Roundhouse as part of the Reverb Festival on 24 February and finally Paris today.

I’ve been with the OAE for four years now and this is the first time I’ve been had the chance to go on a tour from start to finish and what a tour to experience! No two performances have been the same- the Southbank Centre night was my first real listen to the piece in full,  Basingstoke = Amazingstoke (fabulously rich sound) and I thoroughly enjoyed when Sir Mark had to wait for members of the audience to stop talking before he started Part 2- his withering look was priceless!  The Roundhouse gig was totally different – live streaming, a glass of wine and chat with conductor Sir Mark Elder created a unique atmosphere – and the final leg in Paris is sounding awesome, even though I’ve mainly been backstage, looking after the Orchestra’s belongings.  Having said that, each time I hear the piece, I still get the same feeling- a huge rush from hearing a beautifully orchestrated piece, played by a fantastic band.

Here’s a few pictures from my travels (note the slight difference in scenery!):

It’s like Daisy (an OAE cellist I chatted to on the Eurostar journey out) said:

“It’s like the difference between a supermarket apple and an organic one from the market: one is perfectly round and shiny but doesn’t taste of anything, whilst the other may have a few bumps and bruises but tastes exquisite- just like the OAE.”  Well said.

Natasha Stehr, Marketing and Press Officer

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Just three days left to help us…

Wed 19 Oct 2011

There’s only a few days left to help us reach our £1200 goal, letting us take our Night Shift gigs to London pubs all over the capital.

We’re so grateful to everyone who’s donated already and we’re nearly there…but even with a sell-out crowd, each event loses a little money, once the musicians, DJ, room hire and publicity have all been paid for – so we need YOUR help to make up the difference and to make them happen.

We’ve got £400 left to raise- if just 80 people gave a fiver, we’d reach our target!  In return, there’s loads of thank you’s up for grabs, including a pint with the players, a VIP package at a future event or even a group hug from the office team.

So if you’re feeling generous, please do spare a few pounds to help us make this great project possible.

You can read more about the project and donate online here.

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Only a week left to help make our pub tour possible…

Fri 14 Oct 2011

‘Music in a pub? I see no reason not to like it.’

So said our presenter Jon Jacob when talking about our very first pub event this September. And we agree – what could be better than listening to great live music in your local?

 

Our Night Shift series of events has been pushing the boundaries of classical concerts for a while, with late-night performances that get rid of some of the often rigid etiquette of classical performances. We’ve brought a different vibe to our Southbank Centre home and also explored venues including the Roundhouse and Village Underground, taking classical music to unexpected places.

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The Night Shift at Reverb 2012

Thu 13 Oct 2011

We’re very excited to announce that The Night Shift will be returning to the Roundhouse in Camden as part of their 2012 Reverb festival on 24 February 2012.

 

After a sell-out performance at Reverb 2010, The Night Shift returns to the Roundhouse to open this year’s festival with one of our most ambitious projects to date. The 90 piece Orchestra conducted by one of the legends of the classical music world, Sir Mark Elder, will recreate the raw and revolutionary sounds of 19th century Paris in Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet. All in the radical and contemporary atmosphere of The Night Shift– classical music: minus the rules.

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Night Shift hangover revisited…

Thu 5 May 2011

With a rather tired team back in the office today it seems like an appropriate time to point you in the direction of this old p0st.

The Orchestra is really extraordinarily busy at the moment, so they’re also probably feeling a little tired – here’s a run-down of what we’ve been up to this week:

Monday: Rehearse for Fidelio performance at the Brighton festival
Tuesday: More rehearsals for Fidelio
Wednesday: Afternoon rehearsal, and then 7pm and 10pm concerts with Roy Goodman and Artur Pizarro at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
Thursday (today!): First rehearsal for Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni with conductor Robin Ticciati, plus our AGM
Friday: More Don Giovanni rehearsals
Saturday: Fidelio Rehearsals
Sunday: Fidelio Rehearsal and performance at the Brighton Dome

Phew! And then the following week we have more Don Giovanni rehearsals, plus rehearsals for and performance of Mozart Requiem with the Bach Choir…

William Norris, Communications Director

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Night Shift pics

Mon 15 Jun 2009

Here are a few pics from the last Night Shift event on 20 May by Joe Plommer. Our next Night Shift will be on 15 October – details announced duing August.

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Night Shift video

Sun 17 May 2009

Here’s a new video from the last Night Shift on 23 April, featuring conductor Edward Gardner and giving you a glimpse backstage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The next Night Shift is on 20 May – details here.

 

 

 

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A night at the classical 'Oscars'

Wed 13 May 2009

Last night my colleague Ceri Jones and I got glammed up and went along to the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, held at The Dorchester on Park Lane. The RPS awards are known as the classical music ‘oscars’ and there was certainly a star-studded audience there for the dinner and ceremony. Spotted in the crowd were Harrison Birtwistle, Edward Gardner, Yannick Néget-Séguin, Mark Padmore and Sir Charles Mackerras. We were there because the OAE had been shortlisted in the Audience Development category for The Night Shift, the second time The Night Shift has been shortlisted in this category. Sadly, we didn’t win, but we did very well to get through to the last three – the RPS had apparently received over 400 nominations across all the categories, so there was stiff competition. Streetwise Opera was a very exciting and worthy winner, and it was good to see Yannick Néget-Séguin win the Young Artist award – he’ll be conducting us in October. We managed to say hello to him afterwards and he mentioned how much he is looking forward to it.

Hopefully we’ll be back next year and maybe even bring home some silverware!

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Burning down the house

Fri 24 Apr 2009

Well, we had a rather eventful evening last night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Most of the evening ran very smoothly – pre-concert talk, 7pm concert, Night Shift concert. Then, after The Night Shift, just as we were all at last relaxing with a drink and enjoying Nick Luscombe’s set we were rudely interrupted by Southbank Security rushing into the building. It was only then we noticed the flames licking at the windows of the Queen

Elizabeth Hall foyer! We and the rest of the audience were swiftly evacuated from the building and it wasn’t very long before an impressive number of fire trucks and firemen arrived (the latter much to the excitement of certain members of OAE staff). Luckily it was quite a balmy evening so we weren’t too cold and the fire was quickly put out. Our film crew who were filming a promo film about The Night Shift seemed unfazed and continued to interview audience members outside! We were let back in shortly before 12, so luckily we didn’t have to stay any longer than usual. But it definitely made it an evening to remember! Hopefully at the next Night Shift the drama will be limited to the music…

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Top OAE moments of 2008

Thu 8 Jan 2009

It seems to be the time of year for lists and top tens so I asked around for peoples top OAE moments of 2008:

Moving office to Kings Place and buying the new office database – nerdy but important !

Michael Garvey, General Manager

Our previous intern Camilla nearly burning down the old offices with birthday candles.
Or…
The 31 Oct Night Shift- amazing experience and a great atmosphere with so many people there.

Natasha Stehr, Marketing Officer

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Reviews round-up

Fri 19 Dec 2008

Thought we’d share a few reviews from recent weeks. First up is something from a little while back – Tom Service’s fantastic review of our last Night Shift – read it here on his blog. A lot of hard work goes into putting Night Shift’s on, so its nice to get such a positive review. We’ll do a post sometime about the logistics of putting two concerts on in one night!

His blog seemed to get picked up by quite a few people. Here you can even hear a group of students in the States talking about it!

Here’s a more recent piece from Reuters, a more general look at the Orchestra.

Finally here are a selection of reviews from our recent concerts with Sir Simon Rattle here in London.

Independent

Sunday Times

Observer

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