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Four concerts. Four countries. Four different programmes. Over, erm, seven days. Oh well, the fours thing lasted up to a point. We’re in the middle of a slightly complicated patch of work at the moment, working with Sir Roger Norrington. Usually we have a single concert programme which tours but on this tour each concert has seen a different variation. Edinburgh, the first date, saw an all Haydn programme, the Proms concert saw some of the Haydn repeated but with Handel, Purcell and Mendelssohn added, and the remaining concerts in Austria and Hungary see various combinations of the music so far played.

Our Orchestra manager Philippa is going to blog in full about the Edinburgh concert, but to whet your appetite here are a few pics.

William, Marketing Director

We seem to have done a few of these ‘smash and grab’ dates, as this type of trip is affectionately known, to New York recently. Those of the orchestra who really can’t stand the jet lag seem to avoid the trip so those who do go take it for what it is and we realise we are very lucky to be taken to exciting places, something most working people never do. And for me personally, my view is that I’ve done trips away to all kinds of undesirable places, so a(nother) chance to spend some time in this amazing “city that never sleeps” (with an Orchestra that hardly sleeps) is absolutely fine by me.

Anyway, as someone with young children it sometimes feels as though I’m in an extended state of jet lag. So if the worst bit is a couple of films and some kip then fine by me. On the outward flight I even got to sit next to a cello which didn’t fall asleep on me or even want to get out to go to the loo.

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Last week Ceri (our Projects Manager) and I headed off to the Suffolk coast to visit Snape Maltings and the picturesque town of Aldeburgh. The purpose of our trip was an exchange of ideas with the management team at Aldeburgh Music about our respective programmes for young artists. At the OAE we run the Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience for young players scheme and the Melgaard young conductor scheme. Both schemes offer their participants the opportunity to ‘live’ with the Orchestra for the year, attending rehearsals, taking part in concerts and being treated as professional musicians. At Snape, they run the Britten Pears Orchestra, the Britten Pears Baroque Orchestra, various masterclasses and have an assistant conductor programme.

We spent our day there sitting in on sectional and tutti rehearsals and talking to the team there about the way they run their course. This was all set against the beautiful backdrop of the old maltings buildings and the reed beds and canals that surround the centre. We were lucky enough to stay overnight in Aldeburgh and managed some early morning runs along the beach that inspired Benjamin Britten to write Peter Grimes (a bit different to our canal side runs at lunch time in Kings Cross!)

We were also lucky enough to be treated to an OAE concert the evening that we were there as the Orchestra was performing in the concert hall there as part of the Snape Proms.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

A couple of weeks ago a colleague and I went up to Leicester for the annual Arts Marketing Association (AMA) conference. The AMA is the professional body for those working in (surprisingly) arts marketing and there were around 500 delegates there from all forms of the arts – theatres, dance companies, the visual arts etc. Aside from the Key Note presentations and Seminars the conference is a great way to network and socialise with colleagues not just from classical music but from other fields.

The conference this year was called Exploring artistic excellence and public engagement, and indeed one of the major themes running through the sessions was how we can get close to our audiences and make our organisations more porous and transparent – moving away from grand institutions that put on ‘art’ and expect audiences to come, and instead becoming audience focussed, engaging with audiences, having a dialogue with them and putting them at the heart of what we do. Read the rest of this entry »

A week or two ago we asked you for your reviews of our Fairy Queen prom. I’ll be honest – we weren’t exactly indundated! But we did recieve the one below – thank you! If anyone else has comments or reviews you can comment here or email us.

I thought the OAE were impeccable, and the Carolyn Sampson plaint as perfect a collaboration as one gets.  This, and some of the other songs saved the evening.

But the production had a spineless and somewhat aimless feel – it seemed over-liberal as a guise for not really having its visionary feet on the ground.  Neither was it out and out “Music Hall”: it was too prissy for that.

I think it sadly betrayed a Mark Morris’s influence (consciously or unconsciously I don’t know) (as in King Arthur) which it failed to pull off by being merely a poor and rather messy imitation of his great style.

The bunny costume scene was really appalling. The applause it raised just sycophancy or bemusement at best.*

But we were overall very glad we went,  Thank you!

Ben Gaskell

*Editors note : Not from me – I was in tears – of laughter!

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