Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Ceri Jones: 10 years and 1000 concerts

Fri 16 Aug 2013

Ceri Jones crop

Our Projects Director, Ceri Jones, is leaving the OAE for new adventures today (insert very sad expressions from the office team). Here’s a little last blog from her, with some of her highlights from her time with us. Ceri – you will be much missed!

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Berlioz, Basingstoke and baguettes

Wed 29 Feb 2012

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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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A musical stalker…

Thu 23 Feb 2012

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Tomorrow night our late-night series The Night Shift comes to the legendary Roundhouse in Camden for one of our biggest Night Shift events yet, with over 80 musicians on stage to play Orchestral highlights from Berlioz’s Romeo & Juliet. The tag-line for the series is ‘Classical Music: Minus the Rules‘ and we bore that in mind when making this little film: see what happened when we set OAE violinist Jo Lawrence free on the streets on London…

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Sir Mark Elder announced as a Principal Artist of the OAE

Mon 12 Dec 2011

Sir Mark Elder. Credit Simon Dodd

We are thrilled to be able to announce that Sir Mark Elder has today been appointed a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, joining our three other Principal Artists Iván Fischer, Vladimir Jurowski and Sir Simon Rattle.

Sir Mark’s association with the Orchestra dates back to 1992 and has included landmark events such as Verdi’s Requiem in 2001 at the Royal Festival Hall; Creation, the final concert of the our Haydn festival at the Southbank Centre in 2009; and most recently conducting us in over twenty different works for the BBC Four series Symphony.

Sir Mark’s next concert with us, and his first as a Principal Artist, will be Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 February, which is followed by further performances in Basingstoke and Paris and a Night Shift event at Camden’s Roundhouse.

Future collaborations will include concerts and recording projects in association with Opera Rara.

For full information see our Press Room.

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The Night Shift at Reverb 2012

Thu 13 Oct 2011

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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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Evil black poodles, electrifying Beethoven and DNA. Our top OAE moments of 2010

Thu 23 Dec 2010

As has become customary at this time of year we asked around the office and orchestra for people’s top OAE moments of 2010. There are definitely a few trends in the below… and we’d love to know what your top OAE moments of the year were too.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether Beethoven with Iván Fischer or Bach with John Butt wins my best moment of 2010? I’vedecided it’s John Butt because I have not worked with him as a director before. John is a leading Bach scholar and there were constant pearls of wisdom and humour (always a good thing in rehearsals). He is such an open and physically uninhibited musician. One of my favourite moments was when he asked us to be like evil black poodles—- all I could think of was Cruella de Vil! Not very 18th century but it worked.

Martin Kelly, Viola and Vice-Chairman

It was definitely Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne which I had the pleasure of watching twice; firstly on our annual office trip and the next time with my mum when we were caught in the worst downpour of the summer. The poor dressed up Glyndebourne-dwellers were darting, bubbly in arms, into any available shelter possible during the interval and it was a sorry, soggy lot of us who trudged back into the performance. It was my mum’s first visit to Glyndebourne though and she didn’t care at all. Don Giovanni was amazing all the way through but I especially loved the very end. Those dramatic scales over the descending bass line plus the Commendatore bellowing ‘Don Giovanni!’ certainly made for a spine tingling death scene!

Natalie Chivers, Education Projects Manager

I loved the Creation education project.

The chaos of moving 800 children that preceeded and followed the event was quite something; the silence and concentration of all those pupils watching and engaged during the performance in a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall was striking. I had great fun and learnt a lot about DNA!

The Night shift at the Roundhouse in January was amazing too.

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager, Individual Giving

Without a doubt, the Iván Fischer Beethoven concerts in March – particularly at the Lincoln Center in New York where we gave two concerts as part of a complete cycle of the Symphonies with Iván’s “other” Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which gave two concerts as well.  The audience reaction and Iván’s inspiring and totally unique conducting style produced electrifying musical moments of the year.

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive

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My day as Philippa's legs

Mon 15 Feb 2010

OAE office mid morning Friday 29 January. Orchestra Manager arrives with a sprained ankle and a packet of frozen peas. Oh dear. Having been ordered to follow my GCSE P.E. anatomy and physiology advice of R.I.C.E. (that’s Rest, Ice, compression and Elevation) I quickly established that I would be acting as both Ceri Jones Projects Manager and the legs of Philippa Brownsword Orchestra Manager at the Roundhouse today… Given the general buzz and excitement of the event at the Roundhouse there was no way Philippa was going to go home and rest!  We all wanted to be part of it.

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Night Shift at the Roundhouse in pictures

Fri 12 Feb 2010

Hard to believe it was a whole 2 weeks ago now, but we’ve just received the pictures from our Night Shift at the Roundhouse. Here are some of our favourites, but you can view the whole set here at the Night Shift Flickr page. All pics taken by Joe Plommer.

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Night Shift in rehearsal

Sat 30 Jan 2010

Well, a full report will follow later, but in short, we had a fantastic time at the Roundhouse last night, a capacity crowd, a great atmosphere, and superb music, what more could you ask for? We’ll have lots of pictures in the coming days, but here are a few I took yesterday while we rehearsed.

William, Marketing Director

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Roundhouse preview

Thu 28 Jan 2010

Our office team is just about to rush off down to Southbank Centre for tonight’s concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, but before we go I thought I’d post some pics from a trip some of us made to the Roundhouse last week – we went to see an early evening concert with the Britten Sinfonia and a late night one with the London Contemporary Orchestra – both were great, and it gave us a chance to see the set up for the reverb series, of which we’ll be a part tomorrow. If you’re coming to tonight’s concert – enjoy and do let us know what you think!

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Jay-Z meets Vladimir Jurowski

Thu 28 Jan 2010

Well, in photoshop at least. Here’s the pic that accompanies today’s Evening Standard preview of tomorrow’s Night Shift.

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Night Shift on Today

Thu 28 Jan 2010

This morning Radio 4’s Today programme ran a feature on The Night Shift and informal concerts – interviewing conductor Vladimir Jurowski and OAE Leaders Maggie Faultless and Matthew Truscott. You can listen to it here. Is it just us or is the question about pay completely random and unconnected?!

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New Night Shift podcast

Tue 26 Jan 2010

Our new Night Shift podcast has just been released, ahead of our event at the Roundhouse this Friday. On it we catch up with Marin Alsop backstage after the last event, and also talk to conductor Vladimir Jurowski about this weeks show. We also talk to Marcus Davey, Chief Executive about the Roundhouse and its history. Listen to the podcast here

Tomorrow we’ll be releasing a further podcast tomorrow which focuses on our Beethoven Symphony Series and upcoming Vivaldi concert.

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First rehearsal of the year

Mon 25 Jan 2010

Today saw our first orchestral rehearsal of 2010 – we’ve had education events and a lunchtime concert but today was the first time for the full Orchestra to rehearse. In the morning the strings of the Orchestral had a sectional rehearsal (i.e. just the string section), pictured here where they area all in a circle. Then the full orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski all met for the afternoon rehearsal (which took place at Cecil Sharp House). We’re rehearsing for our concerts of Beethoven’s fourth and seventh symphonies – taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thursday, then touring to Bristol on 2 February and Paris on 4 February, in addition we perform Symphony 7 and the Coriolan Overture as a Night Shift at the Roundhouse on 29 January.

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Classical music. The last bastion of uncool?

Fri 22 Jan 2010

This is the question posed by Notion magazine in their latest issue, going on to say:

” Nothing is uncool anymore, I know becaus Brian Eno said so recently…Cool itself is rather passé. There is, however, one exception, the impregnable bastion of uncool: Classical music.

It’s fair to say that Notion isn’t usually the kind of magazine that the OAE appears in, which in a way is why we’re especially excited to be featured. The article (which features yours truly, and more importantly OAE Leaders Maggie Faultless and Matthew Truscott) asks why classical music hasn’t become ‘cool’ like Contemporary Art or Theatre, and takes a look at our Night Shift series of concerts. You can read the article online here – just go to page 56 of the magazine.

The Night Shift makes its debut appearance at the Roundhouse in Camden on 29 January – details here and tickets here.

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Roundhouse site visit

Wed 23 Dec 2009

Last week four of us from the office went to visit the Roundhouse in advance of our Night Shift event there in January. It’s a new venue for us so there was quite a lot to find out about the venue and decide upon. Currently it’s set up for a circus show, La Clique, so we had to imagine how it would look in January. The main difference is of course that there will be a stage in place, but the seating will be much the same. The Roundhouse doesn’t often host classical concerts so we had to discuss the chairs being used for the Orchestra, what risers they have (the raised blocks the woodwind, brass and percussion sit on) and where they should be placed, as well as looking at dressing rooms for conductor, presenter, leader and Orchestra. We ran up against a slight problem for the latter as the larger rooms we could use for the bulk of the orchestra are in the basement and the only way into the auditorium seemed to be via the outside! I’m sure we’ll find a solution! As it’s a Night Shift we also talked about what we could do with the lighting, and how the live video will work. The crew at The Roundhouse were all incredibly helpful, so we’re sure it’ll all go smoothly, and should be a fantastic event. I took a couple of quick pictures of the inside, but they’re incredibly bad quality – apologies!

This is probably our last post until the new year – so hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year.

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Night Shift report: do you cook?

Mon 21 Dec 2009

We had a fantastic Night Shift event back on 5 December with Marin Alsop. Marin was on top form, and led an entertaining tour through Mozart’s Symphony 40, conducting great performances of each movement and engaging in some banter with presenter Alistair Appleton inbetween! Afterwards, despite having had an afternoon rehearsal and 7pm concert, as well as the Night Shift, Marin gamely suggested a post show Q+A which proved to be fascinating. My favourite answer from Marin was when someone asked her about how it was being a female in a male dominated profession. Marin recounted a tale from her first appearance at La Scala in Milan, where she was the first woman ever to conduct . At the Press conference the very first question was ‘So do you cook’?

Anyway, here are a selection of pictures from the evening, all taken by Joe Plommer.
View the complete set of official pics here, or the audience pics (taken on disposable cameras we gave out) here.

Our next Night Shift is at the Roundhouse on 29 January.

William Norris, Marketing Director

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