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Next Tuesday 5 July, we’ll be coming straight from Glyndebourne’s Opera House to the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn to perform in an hour-long family concert, playing highlights from one of Mozart’s most famous pieces, Don Giovanni. OAE musicians will be joined by over 150 children from local schools who’ll be performing live on stage.

We caught up with OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes and composer James Redwood, who’ll both be presenting the concert, to ask them what the audience can expect to see, including a dastardly villain and maybe even a few ghosts!

Tickets are just £5 for adults and £2 for children and can be booked through the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on 01553 764864 or online here.

For more information on this concert and our other Education projects, why not have a look at our website here?

Every time a project involving fortepianos appears on our advance schedule, my heart sinks a little – not because I don’t like the sound of them, or enjoy hearing some of the fantastic repertoire that was written for them, but fortepianos usually = logistical nightmare.   And this time there were 2 of them…

The quest to source two matching pianos started a couple of years ago.  We spoke to our usual suppliers and had sussed that there were a couple of pianos based in the UK – a copy of an Anton Walter piano (a piano maker based in Vienna around Mozart’s time), made by Paul McNulty, and also a copy of a Michael Rosenberger which might be a good match.  Katia Labèque was going to be in London at the end of January 2011 and so we arranged a session up at Craxton studios for her to trial them.  Perfect, we thought, the pianos could be used in the UK for the rehearsals, then we’d take them on tour to Luxembourg, Paris, Dublin and bring them back to London for our final concert at the RFH, then they could return to their owners. Simples. Except the pianos weren’t ideally matched in tone and timbre and so the quest continued. Read the rest of this entry »

Full service on the blog will resume tomorrow, but in the meantime here are some pictures from our performance at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg the other week, where we performed with Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters. All pictures © Sébastien Grébille.

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 Director

Simon Rattle at RFHWell, the reviews are in from our Rattle concert on Tuesday at the Royal Festival Hall, plus a couple from the tour too. You can read them via the links below, but here are three of our favourite quotes:

“That continuing rapport was immediately and sustainedly obvious in this delightful Haydn and Mozart concert, and all without any of the publicity overload that surrounded his Berliner Philharmoniker dates earlier in the year.

There was some Haydn in those Berlin programmes, too, but this time, working with a much smaller and more specialist band, the treatment was more authentic and enjoyable.” THE GUARDIAN (4 stars)

“It was in the two Haydn symphonies that Rattle and the OAE best showed what a triumphant partnership the two have honed in some 25 years working together” THE TIMES (5 stars)

“When this music is played by the OAE light doesn’t just dawn, it dazzles; and even more so when Sir Simon Rattle is on the podium” THE TELEGRAPH (5 stars)

Guardian

Telegraph

Times

BBC Music Magazine

Classical Source

Bach Track

Irish Times (Dublin concert)

Petite Classique (Luxembourg concert, in French)

Picture by Joe Plommer

Last night’s concert of Mozart and Haydn with Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters was broadcast LIVE from the Royal Festival Hall by Radio 3, and it’s available to listen to all over again online here for the next 6 days. Enjoy! Listen to the concert here

This photo is not an accurate depiction of life in the OAE office...

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 Director

Katia and Marielle Labèque

For the latest in our Speed Interview series we catch up with Katia Labèque (pictured on the left), who, together with her sister Marielle, is currently performing on tour with us and Sir Simon Rattle.

What/when was your big breakthrough?
I suppose when our first CD of Rhapsodie in Blue went gold in few months. It did focus the attention of the people on us and also on the repertoire we were playing.

What do you fear the most?
Death of the people we love

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I don’t call often because I prefer the computer.

What – or where – is perfection?
Thank God perfection does not exist…that gives each of us the possibility to try to reach it.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Bartleby: “I would prefer not to…” If I really have to explain I see him as an artist who refuses to compromise his art, who refuses to conform to the model of the society he lives in… Read the rest of this entry »

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 Director

As I write this the OAE is downstairs in Hall 2 of Kings Place where they are in day three of rehearsals with Sir Simon Rattle. Sir Simon is one of the OAE’s closest collaborators and has worked with us almost since the Orchestras inception – his first concert was in 1987, just a year after the Orchestra was founded. Now one of the OAE’s three Principal Artists, (alongside Vladimir Jurowski and Iván Fischer) he works with us on a regular basis, with a tour most seasons. In the rehearsal yesterday we caught up with some OAE players in the break to ask them just what makes him such a special and exciting conductor to work with.

William Norris, Communications Director

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