Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Playing our part in BBC 4’s Symphony

Wed 2 Nov 2011

Back in June the OAE spent 2 days filming in Christchurch Spitalfields with Sir Mark Elder, the results of which will be premiered on BBC Four this Autumn.


We were approached late last year by the BBC Classical Music TV team who were amidst plans to produce a programme for BBC four, tracing the evolution of the musical genre of the Symphony.  OAE would be used to show examples from earlier repertoire, and other orchestras (the BBC Symphony and the Halle) would take over at the appropriate point in the repertoire.  Whilst the OAE does perform late 19th Century and early 20th Century music at times, it was probably fairer to let a full Symphony orchestra do this but… ;).  The filming dates were held in OAE’s diary, straight away (probably the only 2 free days we had in June in amongst Glyndebourne and festival dates), but as is often the case with the recording industry (whether audio or visual) the absolute final schedule was not settled upon for quite some time.


This March we had a recce of Spitalfields Church with the whole BBC production team, and were delighted that it would work for the shoot, as it is such a stunning building.  Not much parking outside for the BBC guys, and a slightly complicated get-in for any keyboard instruments that we were using, but as Spitalfields Church is just beautiful, it was definitely worth accommodating any issues and I am sure it will make an excellent backdrop for the programme.


Musically OAE’s examples ranged from Stamitz, through Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Berlioz.  All of which require different sized orchestras… The production team had a challenging job slotting the schedule together so that we didn’t have players hanging around when they weren’t needed, and I think the schedule must have had about 10 reincarnations, and therefore 10 variations on the budget. Anyway, we got there in the end, and I’m looking forward to seeing the end result on TV.


Ceri Jones, Projects Director


Symphony, with the first two programmes featuring the OAE, starts on Thursday 4 November on BBC 4 at 9pm.

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Q: How do you get yourself on TV? A: With the aid of 400 children, recorders and tin whistles

Mon 11 Jul 2011

Schools concert

Friday saw the latest in our series of schools concerts at our London HQ, Kings Place. Around 400 children joined the OAE, and when we say joined, we really mean it – they helped swell the ranks of the Orchestra to unprecedented proportions! The event generated a fair bit of media interest, with our new OAE musicians appearing on the BBC London radio breakfast show and the concert also being covered by ITV’s London tonight – watch and listen below.

London Tonight report

BBC London Breakfast (2hrs, 45mins in)

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