As the last greying pumpkin remains rotting on doorsteps and the firework-burnt lawns of England begin to freeze over, we enter the pre-Christmas limbo period, also known as boredom. So this week, I, Nancy Cole, am charged with the role of distracting you from the soaring heating bills with a collection of cheerful goings on in the world outside: it’s a nice place really.
The V and A have awakened everyone’s movie curiosity by exhibiting some of the most iconic costumes every created. From the action of Gladiator, the ‘marvel’ of Spiderman and even the glamour of Atonement and that green dress… This exhibition includes over 100 of the most unforgettable film characters from a century of Hollywood filmmaking and there’s even the chance to see the very shoes worn by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
Tis’ the season for facial hair and I’m sure you’ve spotted many suspect tashes circulating the streets. Here’s a glimpse at the most influential and awe inspiring creations to give you and me some inspiration.
This mini-documentary gives a portrait of Afghan designer Massoud Hassani and his incredible Mine Kafon. During the shooting of the film it was proven that the prototypes work, now Hassani is in the process of finding collaborative partners – technical companies, fundings and governments – to put these life saving deminers into production. Watch the video to find out exactly how it works.
Next time you see a pigeon, refrain from the usual cries of disgust and have a closer look…
Whilst rediscovering some post war diaries, historians discovered that British secret services debated the idea of “radio-controlled pigeons“. Plans were also being made to train pigeons to carry ‘explosives to fly into enemy searchlights.’ Maybe one day?
Nancy Cole, Graduate InternRead More
We don’t usually post about Night Shift stuff on the main OAE blog, as we have a whole website for it over here, but our events this week are so unusual we thought it’d be wrong not to tell everyone about them.Read More
Here’s a round up of reviews from Sunday’s French Impressionists concerts with Sir Simon Rattle and Pierre-Laurent Aimard:Read More
Our very first piece of Night Shift merchandise on the online shop! Enjoy your beer at home in this Night Shift branded tulip-shaped pint glass.
Find out more about The Night Shift.Read More
We chatted to OAE Principal flautist Lisa Beznosiuk to ask her a few questions, amidst her solo performances with us this week on our Baroque Giants: Bach tour in London, Birmingham and Bradford-on-Avon.Read More
After a very slight break for the OAE, we’re going on another tour, this time with Laurence Cummings who will be directing an all-Bach programme from the harpsichord. In London we’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4 March, followed by The Night Shift on the same night and the programme also appears as The Works on Tuesday 6 March. We’re also performing with Laurence at the Wiltshire Music Centre (9 March) and Birmingham’s Town Hall (8 March).
We caught up with Laurence to ask him a few questions…
What/when was your big breakthrough?
I feel that my musical career has been one long and fortunate slow burn but the thing that really changed my musical life and was a catalyst in the process of becoming a conductor was being appointed Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in 1997. I have enjoyed working with the students so much over the years and learnt so much from them. In fact Matthew Truscott, the leader for these projects, was one of the first students I worked with at RAM. I am very proud of his amazing achievements and delighted to be sharing the concert platform with him!
What do you fear the most?
A life lived in fear is a life half-lived (quotation from the film Strictly Ballroom!), however I won’t go skiiing in case I break my arm or damage my hands. It doesn’t stop me dancing wildly at parties though!
Which mobile number do you call the most?
What – or where – is perfection?
A walk in the countryside with my boyfriend.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Mrs Madrigal from Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.
What’s your favourite ritual?
Hanging up my coat and putting down my bag when getting home.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
My mother. She has achieved the most extraordinary things in her life. After my father died tragically early, she raised three children with strength, courage and grace and went on to become a Macmillan nurse. On retirement only a year’s voluntary service overseas would do! Where? Siberia of course. She worked with hospices in Russia and helped to forge links with British palliative care teams, creating exchanges of medical equipment and information. She is also wonderful company and her favourite word is ‘fun’!
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Live in the moment. I was very taken, when reading Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Art of Living and Dying, with the quotation from William Blake ‘He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life destroy, But he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in Eternity’s sunrise’.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Bach’s Mass in B minor.
What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
Where to start?! With the OAE you can take the phenomenal standard of playing as a given, but what is so fascinating and energising is playing with musicians who have such a high level of […]
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…Read More
It’s time for our yearly feature where we ask OAE staff and musicians what their top moments of the past year were, so here we go – and feel free to add your top moments to the comments!
“As always with OAE events when you think back over the year it’s SO difficult to pick a clear winner – it could be Matthew Truscott’s gruesome description of how gut strings are made, which had hundreds of children squirming on the edge of their seats in our school’s concert in King’s Lynn; – it could be the incredibly warm reception we had in Keswick where the audience are really hungry for live concerts; but I think in the end it’s a tie between playing for the first time under the baton of Adam Fischer in an exciting and spontaneous Fidelio (the Prisoner’s Chorus in particular was incredibly moving), and the Haydn symphonies with Sir Simon Rattle at the Royal Festival Hall. As always with Rattle it involved digging deep into ourselves and the music, and for me it involved a personal triumph: over-coming the vertigo that came with being, unusually for me, right on the edge of our highly raised platform and managing not to throw myself off the stage.”
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass
“This may not seem that positive, but then perhaps it is… my top moment of 2011 was landing at Heathrow airport at 2.15pm on Sunday 25th September. That seems like a pretty precise moment, but it was the end of the busiest summer we have ever known at OAE. I’m in charge of all the orchestra’s touring and it was so good to know that since June we had managed to successfully get an orchestra of up to 90 people around Europe and put on concerts in Luxembourg, Paris, Dublin, London, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, the Proms, Edinburgh, Warsaw, Eisenstadt, Warsaw again and Bucharest!”
Megan Russell, Projects Manager
“Well, 2011 has been a pretty eventful year so it’s REALLY hard to pick my top moment- sitting (almost) next to Madonna in our 21 June concert with the Labeque sisters is almost up there, but I think the best moment was sitting in the Village Underground on the 24 June- listening to my favourite singer, Elin Manahan Thomas singing some beautiful arias at The Night Shift, with an gin and tonic. Perfect.”
Natasha Stehr. Marketing and Press Officer
“Difficult to choose from three instances of being with the Orchestra in towns or cities where three leading composers were born: Handel in Halle in Germany; Mozart in Salzburg in Austria; or Chopin at Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw. But I think I’ll go for Chopin as I visited his birthplace on a beautiful summer day in late August and had a good look round the manor house, including the very room where he was born, as well as the church in the next village where he was christened. I then went back to Warsaw to hear the OAE performing both Chopin Piano Concertos with Yulianna Avdeeva as soloist. Altogether a special and privileged experience.”
Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive
“My top moment of 2011 was watching Maggie, Matt and Robin play our very first Pub Night Shift to a very crowded and sweaty full house at […]Read More
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.Read More
As you may have seen, over the past month we have been busy raising funds to put on a whole tour of Night Shift’s in pubs, following on from the success of our initial event in September. Well, we had a flood of donations in the closing days of the campaign and were thrilled not just to meet our target, but to smash through it with £1,255 raised overall. We were thrilled with everyone’s generosity and enthusiasm, and with over 50 donors it really did prove the concept of Crowdfunding – a lot of small donations making a BIG difference. Thank you!
So we’re now proceeding with planning the tour, pinning down dates with musicians and scoping out pubs. We’d love to hear from you with any venue suggestions. We’re looking for pubs that have a space suitable for live music and which can hold 150+ people. If you have any ideas then drop us a line. We hope to announce dates and venues in early 2012, if not before.Read More
Here’s a few pictures from our Night Shift event at the Southbank Centre at the end of September.
Apologies for the delay- we’ve had a very busy few weeks, launching our new concert series, The Works, and launching this new website!
You can view the full set (all taken by Joe Plommer) over on The Night Shift’s Facebook page or on Flickr.Read More
If you’ve been following our Night Shift page on Facebook or our Twitterfeed you might have seen some odd pictures posted in recent days…the office giving each other a hug (repeated here for your viewing pleasure), pork scratchings, a pint, a bunch of postcards…
Well we can finally reveal what it’s all about. As you may have read on here, or perhaps you were there, earlier this month we put on a Night Shift event in a pub in King’s Cross. It was a great evening, and it seems that performers and audience enjoyed it equally.
So we’d like to do more. 5 more in fact. The idea is to do a tour of London pubs in February next year, taking in all corners of London. But, there’s a problem. As with almost every other event we do, ticket sales don’t cover costs, even with a sell-out. So we’re embarking on a fundraising campaign with a difference to make up the shortfall.
We’re doing something called crowdfunding. This is a quite new form of fundraising – all done online and based on the principle that a lot of people donating small amounts can make a big difference. We’ve partnered with Crowdfunding site wedidthis and have 30 days to raise the £1,200 required.
But it’s not all about take take take. A key part of crowdfunding is giving you, our funders (we hope!) the chance to get something back too. So, depending on your donation we have a whole raft of interesting thank yous lined up. For example, give us a fiver and we’ll say thanks on Facebook and Twitter. A tenner gets you a postcard sent to you from an OAE tour. £50 buys you a group hug from the office.
There’s some more background about the campaign on the video below, including footage from our ‘pilot’ pub gig.
So, if you’d like to make our pub tour happen please visit our campaign page. Any donation, large or small, is useful. We have just 30 days to raise the money and if we don’t meet the target we get nothing at all. No pressure.
Thanks for reading, and a final, very unBritish plea: Get your credit card out and get crowdfunding!
If you’ve not come across it before the Londonist is a great online magazine, with info and previews of lots of interesting things to do around town. We’re really thrilled they’ve done a little piece on our Night Shift in-a-pub, and that they’re really *got* the OAE and what we’re all about.
If you’re intrigued we still have some advance tickets available for £6 here.
Coming up soon on the blog: Photographer Eric Richmond on the new pictures for the 2011-2012 brochure, What goes on in PRIDE meetings, and why Milk is good for classical music.Read More
I’m Natasha, half of the new Communications Intern duo (my partner in crime being Darren Charlton, the Thursday-Friday man. We’re still looking for a good Jedward style name so have a look at suggestions on the previous blogand start thinking up your own ingenious ideas). I graduated in July from Bristol University so this is my first venture into the working world, away from the comforts of a student loan and 2pm starts. I worked as an OAE student rep during my second and third years and was eager to continue with the orchestra as not only are they the best in the business, but two years of free tickets, badges, beer mats and one personally signed Christmas card from the Communications team won’t repay themselves.
I am working three days a week which means I sadly won’t experience the delights of ‘Friday Wine’, but to make up for it, my view of the canal is simply breathtaking. Floating beer cans lodged in the inert sheet of green algae and the miraculous bird who walks on water gently drift by whilst I and try to fight off the Prêt-a-Manger cravings (there are two stores within five minutes walk). The atmosphere here is less stuffy office and more creative hub. The building is shared by other companies so there is a lively buzz in the foyer and the gallery downstairs makes a nice view whilst cruising down the escalator. Today’s tasks have included making myself acquainted with the large selection of communal tea, adding media to the new website and narrowly avoiding a wandering set of timpani so squeaky and cumbersome that it required an elevator (so THAT’s why we have one in the open plan office) to be transported from one level to the other! It’s been a pretty great day, the highlight definitely being answering the phone for the first time as ‘Natasha from the OAE’. There are some fab concerts coming up; looking at the orchestra’s schedule is like reading a list of my classical music highlights. First up – I can’t wait to hear three players giving The Star of Kings pub in King’s Cross some special OAE treatment at The Night Shift on Thursday night. Be there! Anyway, time has flown by and it’s now five thirty – home time! I think it is safe to say that day one has been a complete success. Shame about the Friday wine, but how many other interns get to meet Trevor Pinnock on their first day in the office?
Natasha Riordan-Eva, Communications InternRead More
One for Night Shift fans – we’ve got a little vote going on over on our Night Shift Facebook page to help us decide on the flyer designs for the next year or so of events. Our designer Martin from INTRO has come up with two great options, ‘Abstract Architecture’ and ‘Pop Art Vs Vorticists’, and there’s a pic of each option here plus more over on Facebook. We’re going to close voting tomorrow so get your votes in now!Read More
Here’s a little audio-visual recap of The Night Shift which we held at Village Underground a few weeks back. Project Director Ceri’s account of how her Night Shift day went is below, but in this post we have a little video with footage from the event plus audience reaction – make sure you watch it right to the end…
Also a selection of pics – you can view the full set over on The Night Shift’s Facebook page or instead on Flickr, if you prefer.
A day in the life of The Night Shift from Ceri’s perspective:
It’s 9.30am on Friday 24th June, It’s been a looooong week: Monday Dublin, Tuesday Royal Festival Hall, Wednesday and Thursday catching up and meetings – and that’s just for me! I assume it’s been worse for the players who also had Glyndebourne rehearsals on the intervening days… Anyway, I should be absolutely exhausted and dreading the prospect of working until at least 12am this evening, but I’m not – this is what we sometimes call “The Night Shift effect”. (editor – different to the ‘Night Shift hangover…)
I of course love working at all OAE concerts, but for me the Night Shift is something quite special, even if they are at least 10 times harder work – especially in a non-traditional concert venue such as Village Underground (no fixed stage, lights, music stands, seats, air-con, changing rooms – you get the picture). So much of Friday felt like venturing into the unknown, a new venue, new acoustics, not sure we’d all fit on stage, not sure if the musicians would be able to cope with the lack of dressing space, chilling areas (aka green room) etc.
Here is a timetable of my day on Friday and how I made it to 12am still full of beans.
9.30 Arrive at office after early morning gym session – going to need those endorphins to get me thorough today I can tell you.
10.00 Quick staff meeting just to make sure everyone is up to speed with all the arrangements and aware of their responsibilities tonight.
10.30 Pop down to Kings Place Music Foundation to pick up the lit stands (i.e.music stands with lights attached – for the darker ambience we use for The Night Shift) we’re borrowing for this eveningRead More
For tonight’s Night Shift we tried something new to promote it and booked a number of ‘fly-posting’ sites around London. The posters arrived in the office last week, and we have to admit we were pretty pleased with them – but not as pleased as we were when we saw the pictures of them in situ! Here are a selection of pictures of the posters up – hope you like. If it’s intrigued you tickets are still available for tonight’s event.
Coming up next week on the blog: Violinist Susan Carpenter-Jacobs on the Rattle tour and life in a stage-band, first post from a mystery ‘Back-Row Blogger’, pictures from the Rattle tour, everything you’d ever want to know about touring with Fortepianos and the low-down on how and why the Queen of Pop, Madonna, ended up coming to our concert last week…
William Norris, Communications DirectorRead More
Well, after five cities, four concerts, three trains, two planes and one coach our tour with Sir Simon Rattle is over. Everything culminated in a sold-out concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night (a concert that marked 25 years of the OAE!) , and not only was it sold out but we had a few added complications, not least of which being a last-minute special guest – none other than Madonna!
Today we have a slightly tired team in the office (and most probably a slightly tired Orchestra too!) but we’ve not long to catch our breath – the Orchestra is rehearsing today and tomorrow for the Glyndebourne production of Rinaldo and Friday sees our Night Shift at Village Underground.
In the coming days look out for special reports, pictures and footage from the tour, plus a full report on last night’s action-packed evening at the Royal Festival Hall.
Oh and if you want to get in early next year’s concert with Sir Simon is already on sale…
William Norris, Communications DirectorRead More
This time next week we’re taking our late-night informal series The Night Shift to another new venue. Following on from appearances at the Roundhouse and Wilton’s Music Hall last year, next week sees us playing Village Underground, an unusual venue tucked away in Shoreditch. The front door isn’t easily found but the venue itself is pretty visible for having several old tube trains parked on the roof, which are used as artists studios. Inside the venue is part warehouse, part under-the-arches space. The building was originally a coal store for the railway above, and in later incarnations saw use as a music hall and a car mechanics. Prior to being refurbished and reopening in 2007 however it had become a derelict dumping ground. Now beautifully restored, it’s a really versatile cultural space, played by pop artists such as The XX and Jarvis Cocker, but now playing host to the OAE and The Night Shift as well.
We’re appearing there as part of the Spitalfields Music summer festival and are really excited about it. Last year’s event at Wilton’s was our first standing Night Shift (well, people mainly sat on the floor) and this really contributed to the informal nature of the event – plus it means that people can get really close to the Orchestra. We’re also taking a fantastic all-Handel programme there. The concert’s at 9 but at 8pm there’s something really special – a collaboration between us, the Roundhouse Experimental Choir and Spitalfields Music’s Circulate ensemble – but more on that next week. If all that’s piqued your curiosity then take a look at The Night Shift website to find out more.
William Norris, Communications DirectorRead More