Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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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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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

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OAE visits re-rite

Fri 13 Nov 2009

Last week I went along to the opening of the Philharmonia’s re-rite installation on the Southbank. It’s a very hard thing to describe but its esentially an installation which allows you to get inside Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Each room of the fantastically atmospheric bargehouse (behind the OXO tower) is devoted to a different section of the Orchestra and you get to see and hear that section’s part of the music in ‘close-up’ but also as part of the whole piece. All the rooms play in sync so the whole building becomes infused with the rite. There are also chances to play the percussion in the piece and be the conductor. Anyway, its very hard to explain, so here are some pics. Its only on until the end of the weekend so I do encourage you to go!

William Norris, Marketing Director

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