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Robert LEVINPianist and scholar Robert Levin appeared with us last night in two concerts (a 7pm and a Night Shift) and today has been on a bit of a media blitz, appearing on Radio 4′s Today programme and the World Service too. There’s also something in the Evening Standard.

The reason? Well Robert has been talking about two things. Last night he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 with us, and Robert’s research strongly points to it being written for a pupil of his, Barbara Ployer, something previously unknown. One of the reasons he suspects this is that he found a coda written for the piece, which was intended for Barbara, and this coda hasn’t been performed for at least 200 years. But alongside this, Robert has been talking about how we perform Mozart these days. Modern performance very much sticks to what is written on the page, with no deviation. But Robert argues that in Mozart’s day there would have been a lot of free rein given to the soloist, to embellish the basic musical line, improvise around it etc. In fact, Robert, argues that his hero, Duke Ellington, is really like a modern-day Mozart.

Robert is performing the Concerto with us again on 4 October, as part of our very first The Works event. In the event he’ll be joined by presenter Suzy Klein, and the first half of the concert will be given over to a ‘guided tour’ of the concerto. More on the event in this previous blog post.

Here’s Robert talking about the concerto, plus links to today’s coverage.

 

 

Robert on the Today Programme

Evening Standard Coverage

Charles HazlewoodCharles Hazlewood opens our 2011-2012 Southbank Centre season with us tomorrow, conducting music by Weber and Mendelssohn, in our Fingers, Felix and the Freeshooter concert. Later on, he’ll join us in The Night Shift.

What/when was your big breakthrough?

Winning the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in 1995

What do you fear the most? 

Losing my children

What – or where – is perfection?

At the end of the rainbow I guess, or in Mozart’s Magic Flute

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Withnail (from the film Withnail & I) because he’s a very flawed (sort of) genius whose own worst enemy is most definitely himself.

What’s your favourite ritual? 

Story telling or making risotto

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

Nelson Mandela

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?

Malibu surfing.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To breathe

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?

The slow movement of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante K364, Sibongile Khumalo live at the Market Theatre and Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, even stevens.

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?

The sound and the way they listen

Concert details and booking

There are two weeks to go until our first ever Night-Shift-in-a-pub on 8 September. Here’s a little video preview. If you watch it and are subsequently desperate to buy tickets you can do that here. By the way, does anyone know what the background music is? It’s insanely catchy…

We’ve had SO much exciting stuff to talk about on the Blog that these vox pops from way back in May have got a little forgotten about. To jog your memory, in case you were there, the concert (reviews here) featured Artur Pizarro on the fortepiano playing Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 plus the Orchestra, conducted by Roy Goodman playing Mozart Symphony 40 and Schumann Symphony No.4  (plus a rather unusual encore).  Here’s what the audience made of it afterwards:

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?

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 »

The OAE is currently in the middle of a run of Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne, the first of two operas we are performing there this season (the other being Rinaldo). The production of Don Giovanni premiered last summer when it was conducted by our Principal Artist and Glyndebourne Music Director Vladimir Juorwski. This season Robin Ticciati has taken over conducting duties, but we thought you might still be interested in this video from Glyndebourne in which Vladimir talks about the opera and which also includes some exclusive rehearsal footage.


In this latest video OAE violinist and musicologist Roy Mowatt explores what gives Handel’s music its mass, immediate appeal:

 

Join us tomorrow for A celebration of Handel, live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Ahead of our all-Handel programme tomorrow night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we caught up with OAE leader and director for this concert, Alison (Ally) Bury…

Alison BuryWhat do you fear the most? 

Monsters – inner and outer, real and metaphorical.

 Which mobile number do you call the most?

My husband, Richard Earle, OAE oboist. But I prefer my landline.

What – or where – is perfection?

A summer walk on the South Downs followed by tea and cakes.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Difficult to choose just one – but I love Rose Aubrey, the narrator of Rebecca West’s The Fountain Overflows, one of the few novels which gives a convincing account of a musician’s life.

What’s your favourite ritual?

Doing the Guardian cryptic crossword with my husband over a cup of tea. Read the rest of this entry »

As we mentioned in our last post, we’re taking our Night Shift to the Village Underground, Shoreditch, on Friday 24 June – a building played in by the Klaxons, Jarvis Cocker and The XX. It should be a fab night and details are available from our Night Shift website.  The full programme will be performed before this on 4 June at the Queen Elizabeth Hall- more details here. In the meantime, why not have a read of our speed interview with the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas who’ll be singing some glorious Handel arias on both nights:

What/when was your big breakthrough?

Stepping in on the day for the ill soloist on a Monteverdi Choir tour to sing the Messiah. Nerve-wracking and brilliant.Elin Manahan Thomas

What do you fear the most? 

Flying. Really not helpful when you’re a travelling musician.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My husband’s. A hundred times more so, now that we have a baby boy and every day feels like a big round of decisions.

What – or where – is perfection?

Home, on the sofa, bags unpacked.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Frodo Baggins. I’d have given in to that ring by the end of book one! Read the rest of this entry »

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