Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Through the grapevine: St Matthew Passion

Tue 7 Apr 2015

Pats on backs all round for last week’s St Matthew Passion in London.

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Sigiswald Kuijken on Newsnight

Fri 14 Mar 2014

The Works OAE

Many of you may have noticed Violoncello da spalla player Sigiswald Kuijken, on yesterday’s edition of Newsnight. Sigiswald joined Emily Maitless to play the show out with a rendition of Bach’s Bourrée No.1 from Suite No. 3 BWV 1009. For those of you who missed it, you can watch it below.

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Current Distractions

Thu 30 Aug 2012

Welcome to the first of a new section based around what’s been catching our collective eye…

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OAE at the Edinburgh International Festival

Fri 26 Aug 2011

OAE: At the Edinburgh International Festival [video]


We’re really excited to be part of the Edinburgh International Festival and are taking our tour with the brilliant Vladimir Jurowski to the Usher Hall tonight where he’ll be conducting a programme of Weber, Liszt’s dramatic Faust Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E with Alina Ibragimova.

Here’s a taster of what’s to come tonight, plus why the OAE can be compared to a very famous cat and mouse duo…

OAE at the Edinburgh International Festival

Tickets for the concert can be bought online or by phoning the EIF Box Office on 0131 473 2000.

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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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The Story of Mr John…

Thu 30 Jun 2011

Next Tuesday 5 July, we’ll be coming straight from Glyndebourne’s Opera House to the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn to perform in an hour-long family concert, playing highlights from one of Mozart’s most famous pieces, Don Giovanni. OAE musicians will be joined by over 150 children from local schools who’ll be performing live on stage.

We caught up with OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes and composer James Redwood, who’ll both be presenting the concert, to ask them what the audience can expect to see, including a dastardly villain and maybe even a few ghosts!


Tickets are just £5 for adults and £2 for children and can be booked through the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on 01553 764864 or online here.

For more information on this concert and our other Education projects, why not have a look at our website here?

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Alison Bury: Speed Interview

Fri 3 Jun 2011

Alison Bury

Ahead of our all-Handel programme tomorrow night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we caught up with OAE leader and director for this concert, Alison (Ally) Bury…

What do you fear the most? 

Monsters – inner and outer, real and metaphorical.

 Which mobile number do you call the most?

My husband, Richard Earle, OAE oboist. But I prefer my landline.

What – or where – is perfection?

A summer walk on the South Downs followed by tea and cakes.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Difficult to choose just one – but I love Rose Aubrey, the narrator of Rebecca West’s The Fountain Overflows, one of the few novels which gives a convincing account of a musician’s life.

What’s your favourite ritual?

Doing the Guardian cryptic crossword with my husband over a cup of tea.

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Elin Manahan Thomas: Speed Interview

Thu 19 May 2011

Elin Manahan Thomas

As we mentioned in our last post, we’re taking our Night Shift to the Village Underground, Shoreditch, on Friday 24 June – a building played in by the Klaxons, Jarvis Cocker and The XX. It should be a fab night and details are available from our Night Shift website.  The full programme will be performed before this on 4 June at the Queen Elizabeth Hall- more details here. In the meantime, why not have a read of our speed interview with the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas who’ll be singing some glorious Handel arias on both nights:

What/when was your big breakthrough?

Stepping in on the day for the ill soloist on a Monteverdi Choir tour to sing the Messiah. Nerve-wracking and brilliant.

What do you fear the most? 

Flying. Really not helpful when you’re a travelling musician.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My husband’s. A hundred times more so, now that we have a baby boy and every day feels like a big round of decisions.

What – or where – is perfection?

Home, on the sofa, bags unpacked.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Frodo Baggins. I’d have given in to that ring by the end of book one!

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The Night Shift in pictures

Tue 17 May 2011

The Night Shift beermats

We’ve just had the films developed from our disposable cameras that we dotted around the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer at the last Night Shift event on 4 May.  Here’s a few choice ones for you:

For the full set, you can visit our Flickr page where you can also find the official pics, taken by Joe Plommer.

And just a quick reminder that you don’t have long to wait until our next Night Shift- it’s making its debut at the Village Underground, in the heart of Shoreditch on 24 June…more details on our Night Shift website.

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The UK's leading opera maestros in conversation

Mon 16 May 2011

Just thought we’d share a very interesting video here, from an event at the Royal Opera House . Conductors Antonio Pappano, Edward Gardner and our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski talk to Sir John Tusa about conducting opera and what it takes to be a musical director of a leading opera house. Plus – a little clip is included of us in the pit at Glyndebourne with Vladimir Jurowski conducting. Enjoy!

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Get to know the OAE: Part 10

Thu 14 Apr 2011

This week, we chat to Georgina Cooksley about life as an intern with the OAE…

What’s your role in the OAE office?

I’m the graduate intern so I get to be involved in all parts of the OAE. Mainly I work with the Projects team organizing and planning concerts but I also liaise with the Communications and Development teams and help the Education team with string club (although I can’t actually play the violin…yet.)

What does your typical day involve?

No two days have been the same here and there’s always a new challenge. One morning I had to dash to the Barbican to deliver Sir Simon Rattle his Tristan and Isolde music and another I’m backstage at the QEH catching Nick Logie with the chocolates or giving out flowers on stage. Most days I’m in the office talking to the players’ on the phone, helping Megan with US visas and E101s, drinking coffee, fixing the photocopier and anything that pops up.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

I text message rather than call people, so the number I probably text the most is my friend Amanda. My mum would be a close second and it’s normally for cooking or cleaning advice.

What – or where – is perfection?

Lying on a beach with your feet buried in the sand, listening to the waves roll along the sand.

What’s your favourite ritual?

Oh dear, this is going to sound bad but I would have to say ‘Friday night wine.’ It’s more about celebrating the end of the week and having a chat and a giggle with your friends over wine. It’s especially good if it’s a New Zealand wine.

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Baroque. Contrasted: final Daily Trivia

Wed 6 Apr 2011

It’s the last day of our hugely exciting trivia section… *sob*

Here are the final titbits for your musical pleasure:

Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630) was a German composer of the early Baroque era and was afflicted with poor health- his wife died in childbirth; four of his five children died in infancy; he died at age 44, having suffered from tuberculosis, gout, scurvy and a kidney disorder.

Hugh Aston (1485-1558) was an English composer of the early Tudor period. His initial salary at The Newarke (a musical institution in Leicester) was £10 a year, only £2 a year less than that of the Dean. Listen to his Hornpype (which we’re playing on Friday) here.

William Brade (1560-1630) was an English composer, violinist, and viol player of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras and liked to change jobs frequently- during his career, he moved 13 times!

If you’d like to hear more music from these composers, why not try one of our hour-long concerts at Kings Place?

Concerts start tomorrow night from 6.45pm and more details can be found on our website.

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Baroque. Contrasted: Daily Trivia 3

Tue 5 Apr 2011

As promised, here’s another dose of daily trivia for you, featuring some of the lesser known composers we’ll be showcasing this week at Kings Place:

Biagio Marini (1594-1663) was an Italian virtuoso violinist and composer of the first half of the seventeenth century who married three times and had five children.  He was the first composer to notate tremolo (trembling) effects into his music.

Francisco Correa de Araujo (1584-1654) was a notable Spanish organist, composer, and theorist of the late Renaissance as well as a priest.

Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594), a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, was rumoured to have been kidnapped three times because of the singular beauty of his singing voice.

More random facts tomorrow!

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Baroque. Contrasted: Daily Trivia

Fri 1 Apr 2011

Next week sees the start of our mini-festival at Kings Place, Baroque. Contrasted.

We kick off on 6 April with 5 days of concerts, talks, demonstrations and two chances to join the OAE.  Most of the composers we’ll be featuring should be pretty familiar- Vivaldi, Purcell, Bach-  but we’re also showcasing some of the lesser-known but equally brilliant artists of the time.

Ahead of the opening night, we thought we’d give you a bit of daily trivia on some of these mysterious musicians…

Gottfried Finger (1660-1730) left London in a hurry in 1701 after allegedly being unjustly passed over for a composition prize. He financed his departure with the sale of a set of trio sonatas, of which Op 5 No.10 (which we play on 7 April) is unusually scored for recorder, cello (or bassoon) and continuo.

Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) was murdered in Genoa just months after penning the wedding cantata Il Barcheggio, probably after an unwitting controversy over a woman (who preferred him to another man – the likely murderer).

Dario Castello (1590-?) has no biographical information at all; even his birth and death dates are unknown, although it is thought he may have died during the great plague of 1630. He was probably associated with St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, where Claudio Monteverdi was maestro di capella.

For more info on the festival, including a free flippable brochure and details of how to book, visit oae.co.uk/kingsplace

Next time…find out why composer Merula got into trouble…

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Pre-concert talk series: No.3 – Rob Cowan talks to David Zinman

Mon 28 Mar 2011

Before the ‘From a Dream to a Revolution’ concert on 08 Feb 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, David Zinman talked to Radio 3 presenter Rob Cowan about his career, life and recordings and how musical interpretations have changed over the years.

listen to the whole talk below:

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Get to know the OAE: Part 9

Fri 18 Feb 2011


This week, Lisa Sian tells us about the joys of working in the OAE office…

What’s your role in the OAE office?

Finance Director and Company Secretary.


What does your typical day involve?

Creating budgets, checking incomes and costs against budgets, reporting to other management and the board, currently I am finalising our most recent Audit, and have started to prepare for our upcoming AGM with notices going for members.


What – or where – is perfection?

Sailing and walking in the Scottish West Highlands – big open landscapes and no traffic, no air pollution, & no poisonous snakes.


Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Master Li Mu Bai, cool calm and collected.

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Get to know the OAE: Part 8

Wed 2 Feb 2011

This week, we speak to Lucy Pilcher…

What’s your role in the OAE office?

Development Events Officer – I organise all of the events for people who support the Orchestra AND get to go to them, best job ever!

What does your typical day involve?

Anything from emailing corporates to arranging caterers to making pink tinsel name badges to going to drinks receptions…

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My sister – she’s one of my Magic Numbers and lives 200 miles away so we call each other a lot!

What – or where – is perfection?

A lazy morning spent in pyjamas with a tasty breakfast and the Guardian.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Belle from Beauty and the Beast, because of how much she loves her Father and risks and sacrifices for him.

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Get to know the OAE: Part 7

Tue 18 Jan 2011

This week, we speak to Ingrid van Boheemen in the OAE office about her time with the Orchestra (she’s leaving us this week :()

What’s your role in the OAE office?

The Intern (or The Office-Wide Resource)

What does your typical day involve?

Answering the phone, sending emails, updating the database, drafting schedules/contracts and pretty much seeing how everything works and helping out with everything!

Which mobile number do you call the most?

The musicians’….asking for E101 forms, sorry about that.

What – or where – is perfection?

Drinking riesling and eating fries at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland after a day at the beach.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

I really don’t have one, despite thinking about this for a very long time.

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Recent reviews

Thu 16 Dec 2010

Here are some reviews from our recent tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio:

The Guardian on 10 December concert at St. George’s Bristol

Bristol Evening Post on 10 December concert at St. George’s Bristol

Classical Source on 12 December concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Classical Music Blog from Robert Hugill on 12 December concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

If you were at one of our performances in London, Southampton, Bristol or Southwell, let us know what you thought!

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Let them eat cake…part 6

Mon 13 Dec 2010

Lucy Pilcher, our new Development Events Officer, only started here at the beginning of this month but already she’s been inducted into the Bake-off Hall of Fame with her Heston-like Chocolate Cheesecake Bacon (yes, that’s right, BACON) Brownies:


Very different to the other entries so far, but just as tasty!





Think this will be the last one before Christmas so here’s a reminder of what we’ve conjured up in 2010:

We’ll have the final few entries in the new year before deciding on the winner, along with our recipes in an OAE cookbook of sorts.

Have a fab Christmas, full of cakey bakey treats!



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