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“My picks of the season: All of them of course….but if I really have to make a choice I’m really looking forward to the French romantic programmes. I can’t agree with Mendlessohn – I love Berlioz’s orchestration and particularly the subtle and effective ways he uses the double bass, and I can’t wait to hear what Debussy’s La Mer sounds like on period instruments. But just as exciting is the prospect of working with Laurence Cummings and the amazing energy and colour he brings to Handel and Bach, And then there’s the fab soloists like Levin, and Bostridge, and Podger, and Isserlis, and Faust and, and, and…you see I’m back where I started: all of them!
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass
I’m very much looking forward to the Glory of Venice in January. The Monteverdi Vespers in 2010 was such a wonderful project I’ve been wanting to do more of that repertoire ever since. The Choir of the Enlightenment were fantastic and Rob Howarth has real insight into that style. For the Vespers I bought a new instrument – a beautiful copy of a Spanish bajon tuned in Dorian Mode – and it hasn’t had an outing since then! I’m also really looking forward to Romeo and Juliet with a team of four bassoons all playing early 19th century French originals – that’s a real rarity!
Andrew Watts, Bassoon
The French programme with Sir Simon Rattle in June is particularly exciting and challenging for the OAE’s timpani and percussion players. Spending our lives firmly in the rhythm section in classical repertoire, through the second half of the 19th century composers started to use timpani more as a harmonic instrument and percussion to create tone colours and effects. As the OAE branches out once again into a new area, we’ve got to select our instruments carefully with Debussy’s fascination with oriental music firmly in mind.
It’s reasonable to assume that Debussy’s La Mer , with its exotic influences and soporific moods, to be solely influenced by the Mediterranean, but it’s an interesting fact that Debussy actually finished the composition during an extended stay in Eastbourne! I haven’t yet been able to identify the “kiss-me-quick”, fish ‘n’ chips and donkey rides influences of the British seaside, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere…. Definitely one for a pub quiz….!
Adrian Bending, Timpani
It’s that time of year again, the start of a new London season. And that means that it’s also time for our staff picks of the year. Here’s what we’re all looking forward to – some definite themes emerging. Players pics will follow tomorrow!
“I’m really excited about the opening concert this season on 29 September- featuring the ever-excitable and amazing pianist, Robert Levin. After seeing him perform at the Night Shift back in February 2008 (the first concert I worked at as an official member of OAE staff (!)), it’s going to be fabulous seeing him direct another of Mozart’s Piano Concertos- he’s got such a passionate and energetic way of presenting pieces- which always comes across really well on stage, especially in the more informal, relaxed atmosphere of the Night Shift. Can’t wait!!”
Natasha Stehr, Press and Marketing Officer
“It’s the opening concert that is going to do it for me! Weber’s magical Der Freischütz Overture; Mozart’s exhilarating A major Piano Concerto with the incomparable Robert Levin; and Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony which I can never tire of listening to, not just for the attractions of the music but because of the story behind it: Mendelssohn’s journey through Scotland in 1829, aged 20, made so vivid through his sketches and the letters that he wrote about his experiences, and the very specific moment when the opening theme came to him during his visit to the ruined chapel of Holyrood Palace (pictured above)” info/tickets
Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive
“Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet (18 February). I’ve loved Romeo and Juliet as a subject matter ever since yr 9 (age 13) when I spent nearly an entire year of English classes getting to grips with Shakespeare for the first time. I’ve since been fascinated about all the various takes on the story covered by so many art forms and composers from Berlioz to Bernstein (something we’ll look into much more detail at this years study day). I can’t wait to hear Berlioz’s almighty (there are 4 harps!!!) version.” info/tickets
Ceri Jones, Projects Director
“I’m most looking forward to the next Night Shift (29 Sep). After experiencing the format for the first time at the ‘mini’ event last week, I was most struck by how the audience were so uninhibited in their response to the music, the oppressive and weird ‘rules’ of how to view classical music really were thrown out the window. I can’t wait to see if this is maintained on the bigger stage of QEH and to be a part of one of the most forward-thinking classical nights in London.” info/tickets
Toby Perkins, Graduate Intern
“As usual, I’ve struggled to narrow it down to only one! I was tossing up between ‘An Olympic Thread’ (10 Feb) and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (18 Feb), I love the orchestra when it has swelled to the forces needed for a piece like Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, but ‘An Olympic Thread’ has won as I’m also a fan of the OAE in an intimate concert like this. Handel and the OAE were made to go together, so I’m really looking forward to hearing the Handel pieces, but I’m also interested in hearing a new commission, something which fairly rare for us. And I think it will be perfect timing to start getting excited about the Olympics which will be just round there corner.” info/tickets
Megan Russell, Projects Manager
“It is hard to decide which concert I am looking forward to most as there is such a variety this season. Berlioz’s epic Romeo and Juliet conducted by Sir Mark Elder (18 Feb), a new commission by Sally Beamish (10 Feb) and a visit from Mozart impresario Robert Levin (29 Sept, 4 Oct, 3 May) are just a few magical moments which I am sure not to miss. But which is my favourite? After much deliberation I think it is a tie between Bostridge sings Bach (25 April) and French Impressionists (10 June). Ian Bostridge is a personal favourite of mine and I’ve cleared my diary to make sure I am free to experience two of my favourite Bs in one concert; an event which promises to be a sumptuous Baroque feast. For my second choice, we need to fast forward in time to 19th century France. Sir Simon Rattle and Pierre-Laurent Aimard are set to take us on a journey with three French masters, Debussy, Fauré and Ravel. I can’t wait to hear the orchestra interpret this shimmering, decadent music; a real wake up call to anyone who thinks the OAE only play ‘old’ compositions!” info/tickets (Bostridge) info/tickets (Rattle)
Natasha Riordan-Eva, Communications Intern
“So hard to choose! 1700s London & the Fab Four (21 Nov) because Rachel Podger is such a joy to watch, and the two programmes with Brandenburg concertos – Baroque Giants: Bach with Lisa Beznosiuk’s enchanting flute playing (4 March) and Bostridge Sings Bach (25 April) with the captivating Ian Bostridge and the wonderful Steven Devine.” info/tickets (21 Nov) info/tickets (4 March)
Lucy Pilcher, Corporate Relations and Events Administrator
“So, I’m most looking forward to the first and the last of the Southbank concerts, although I will enjoy all in between I’m sure! 29 September is a pick for me because I love Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony. Really excited about 10 June for the French Impressionists concert with Sir Simon Rattle because it is so different, I can’t wait to hear Prelude a l’apres midi d’une faune on period instruments.” tickets/info (29 Sept) tickets/info (10 June)
Ellie Cowan, Education Officer
“As ever, hard to choose. I, like others, will cheat and pick two. First, The Works (4 Oct). This is a totally new venture for us (read about it here), so I’m both excited and nervous about it. Robert Levin is an amazing speaker though, so we will be safe in his hands, and it’s an incredible piece of music too, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23. My second pic is our concert led by violinist Matthew Truscott on 10 February. I’m really excited that we will be playing a brand new piece by Sally Beamish, written for the Olympic year. It’s of course rare for the OAE to play new music, but I think the concept of new music written for old instruments is quite interesting. Definitely worth checking out.” tickets/info (4 Oct) tickets/info (10 Feb).
William Norris, Communications Director
Yesterday we sent the final proof of our new 2011-2012 brochure back to the printer, giving it a final sign-off so that they can proceed with printing all 36,000 copies. Always slightly scary in case there’s a hideous mistake you’ve missed… To avoid that, it gets read by as many people as possible in the office. Here’s Press Manager Katy Bell giving it a final once-over.
If you had dropped a bomb on the Royal Festival Hall last Friday, at around 11am, then you would have wiped out a very large section of London’s classical music life. Why? Well last Friday was the press launch of the 2011-2012 classical season at Southbank Centre. I’m sure to the assembled ranks of journalists that this all seemed very normal and routine, but the fact is a huge amount of work goes into not just the organisation of an event like this, but in getting the seasons of four Resident Orchestras ready in time, so they can all be launched at exactly the same time, and go on sale all together three days later. For the OAE launching this early in the year is something of a novelty, as until recently we’d do it in a much more leisurely fashion. Maybe in April…May…just whenever we got it all together really.
But obviously we make a lot more impact if we launch our new season together with the other Residents: LPO, Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta and also together with the various series that the Southbank Centre puts on too.
Pictured below (thanks to Sam Dub for the pics) are the various speakers for the event – including Marshall Marcus, who not very long ago was the OAE’s Chief Executive. We, as you know, don’t have a Principal Conductor, so we asserted our difference and had a player representing us – a huge thank you to OAE Leader Matthew Truscott for volunteering – he did a great job, though he did remark he was far more nervous than he ever gets when playing his violin!
Obviously we were excited about our own season, but its also fun to hear whatevery one else is putting on – and we were especially excited to see that Eduardo Portal, our Melgaard Young Conductor last season, is featuring in the LPO’s season – congratulations to him! There will definitely be an OAE crowd there cheering him on on 25 November.
Some boring small print: Friends of the OAE have priority booking till 21 Feb – we’ll be posting full details of everything then. If you want to sign up to the Friends give us a buzz! 020 7239 9382. There’s also a cheaper Priority Bookers option for £15.
Already there has been some coverage:
William Norris, Communications Director
Well, it’s that time of year again. Ok, not quite *that* time of year exactly as we’re actually doing this years photoshoot much earlier than usual. The 2011-2012 season gets launched to the press in late January so we’re rushing to get everything ready for then. As with last year’s pictures we’re not going to give too much away, but this year’s shoot is about projection and personalities. We’re working with photographer Eric Richmond again, and designers Harrison. Today was the first day of the shoot, and it’s always a bit nerve wracking, seeing if the concept is going to work in reality. I can report that it definitely does. I’ve just got back to the office from the studio and here are a few pics from day one – taken on my phone so not top quality…
William Norris, Communications Director