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It seems appropriate to tell you now (as we are currently, as I type, rehearsing with him) that a DVD of the OAE and conductorVladimir Jurowski has just been released. If you’re a regular OAE-goer you may remember him kicking off our Beethoven series back in January last year with a blazing performance of Symphonies 4 and 7. We later performed No.7 at the Roundhouse as a Night Shift, but after those two performances we went on to Paris and gave the concert again. There it was streamed live and that recording has now been released on DVD. It’s shot (to my mind at least) in a a really exciting way, so you often feel like you’re really inside the Orchestra, and it’s fascinating watching Vladimir, his expressions  and his cues to the Orchestra – not something you often see when you watch a concert from the audience. You can get a taster of the DVD on the clip below:

 

The DVD is available now, from, as they say, all good shops. Of course, the BEST shop is the OAE website, and you can buy it through us here. Our shop will be much improved when our new website goes live. More on that soon…

William Norris, Communications Director

A few weeks ago we were excited to appear at the Brighton Festival. Each year the festival has a different guest director and this years is Aung San Suu Ky, who chose Fidelio to be performed, for obvious reasons.

Here are a couple of  reviews from the performance:

Telegraph

Guardian

A quick roundup of reviews from our recent concerts of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, with conductor Roy Goodman and pianist Artur Pizarro:

Guardian

Independent

Classical Source

What did you think?

Artur PizarroWe’re currently performing Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto with soloist Artur Pizarro – with him making his period instrument debut with us. Catch it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London tomorrow – and in the mean time have a read of his Speed Interview with us:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Well, I’ve been playing the piano all my life and always with the focus on a career as a soloist so the process has been long and gradual but if I have to highlight a moment it would definitely be winning the Leeds Piano Competition in 1990. I was just back in Leeds to play for Dame Fanny Waterman’s 90th birthday party and it was amazing to see all the friendly faces who have supported me in the last two decades! An amazing experience!

What do you fear the most?
Stupidity and cruelty, point blank!!!

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My manager Tom Croxon, who else??

Read the rest of this entry »

We’re looking forward to our next Night Shift event on Wednesday (4 May), and ahead of it we’ve just released our latest podcast. In it we feature an in-depth interview with star pianist Artur Pizarro, talk to OAE violinist and Leader Alison Bury about what it’s like playing at The Night Shift, plus we look ahead to our June event in Shoreditch. First though we start off hearing from you, with audience reaction to our last event.

The Night Shift returns on Wednesday 4 May
The podcast will also shortly be available on itunes, just search for Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

At lunchtime today my colleague Megan produced 10 metres of hand-made bunting from her bag (as you do). We were all pretty impressed with it and immediately started to put it up in the office. While we were doing this my colleague Zen starting filming and taking pictures – I remarked that it would be great to get some pictures for the blog as ‘there’s nothing else interesting going on today to put on there’. At this point Megan remarked to me that in fact there was a 50 piece orchestra rehearsing two floors below us and that was maybe quite interesting.

Of course she’s right.  Its amazing how quickly something like that becomes routine and ordinary, and you have to be reminded how special it is. After lunch I took the escalator down to level -2 here at Kings Place to listen to the Orchestra, conductor Roy Goodman and pianist Artur Pizzaro rehearse Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto. Lovely as Megan’s bunting is, listening to the OAE play Beethoven is always going to trump most things. Here are pics of both bunting and rehearsal.

William Norris, Communications Director


As has become customary at this time of year we asked around the office and orchestra for people’s top OAE moments of 2010. There are definitely a few trends in the below… and we’d love to know what your top OAE moments of the year were too.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether Beethoven with Iván Fischer or Bach with John Butt wins my best moment of 2010? I’vedecided it’s John Butt because I have not worked with him as a director before. John is a leading Bach scholar and there were constant pearls of wisdom and humour (always a good thing in rehearsals). He is such an open and physically uninhibited musician. One of my favourite moments was when he asked us to be like evil black poodles—- all I could think of was Cruella de Vil! Not very 18th century but it worked.

Martin Kelly, Viola and Vice-Chairman

It was definitely Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne which I had the pleasure of watching twice; firstly on our annual office trip and the next time with my mum when we were caught in the worst downpour of the summer. The poor dressed up Glyndebourne-dwellers were darting, bubbly in arms, into any available shelter possible during the interval and it was a sorry, soggy lot of us who trudged back into the performance. It was my mum’s first visit to Glyndebourne though and she didn’t care at all. Don Giovanni was amazing all the way through but I especially loved the very end. Those dramatic scales over the descending bass line plus the Commendatore bellowing ‘Don Giovanni!’ certainly made for a spine tingling death scene!

Natalie Chivers, Education Projects Manager

I loved the Creation education project.

The chaos of moving 800 children that preceeded and followed the event was quite something; the silence and concentration of all those pupils watching and engaged during the performance in a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall was striking. I had great fun and learnt a lot about DNA!

The Night shift at the Roundhouse in January was amazing too.

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager, Individual Giving

Without a doubt, the Iván Fischer Beethoven concerts in March – particularly at the Lincoln Center in New York where we gave two concerts as part of a complete cycle of the Symphonies with Iván’s “other” Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which gave two concerts as well.  The audience reaction and Iván’s inspiring and totally unique conducting style produced electrifying musical moments of the year.

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive Read the rest of this entry »

Will’s asked me to write a few lines about our Beethoven 9 project (or ‘patch’ as we call it in the office) last month, but I’m not really sure where to start- it was extremely eventful!

It started off as a concert in London on the Friday, followed by a concert in San Sebastian on the Sunday. First change: San Sebastian ende

Valladolid Auditorium

Valladolid Auditorium

d up being Valladolid. Then the Spaniards decided they wanted a concert in Madrid on the Saturday and possibly in Barcelona on the Tuesday. Then the Barcelona concert was scrapped. At this point we were very sad to hear that Sir Charles Mackerras was unwell and could not do our concerts, so the hunt was on for another conductor, who could do all three.

Fortunately Ilan Volkov came to the rescue, so back to the grindstone to organise those last minute flight details. One week to go, and after months of hanging on to finalise the details we thought we were finally there, and then,

the Madrid concert was cancelled! Unfortunately it was too late to change our flights to go a day later so the orchestra were very pleased to find out they had a free night in Madrid (especially as this was the night of THE big football match – Madrid vs Barcelona…). With the Madrid concert cancelled we had some last minute changes with the instrument transport and we enrolled Bonzo ‘our man with a van’ to truck our instruments to Spain for us (we now had an extra day to do this and it is a lot safer for the instruments than flying). Read the rest of this entry »

As you may know conductor Ilan Volkov replaced Sir Charles Mackerras for our concert of Beethoven Symphony 9 last  Friday at the Royal Festival Hall. The concert also toured to Valladolid, in Spain and Spanish newspaper El Mundo asked Ilan a few questions ahead of the

Ilan Volkov

performance:

What was it like to take over this project at such short notice?
How do you organise and prepare yourself mentally to conduct – unexpectedly – such a huge work as Beethoven’s 9th?

Luckily I conducted Beethoven 9th at the the Proms last summer so it’s fresh in my mind. Its very exciting to do this with period instruments- there are so many details that sound completely different. Quite amazing. With these instruments one really feels the radical nature of the work and how modern it still is. I’ve admired the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a long time so its a fantastic thing to work with them for the first time.
Tell us about your vision of this work as the conductor

The 9th has so much in it. In many ways its an utopian work of art ,way ahead of its time. Each movement has such a distinctive character so that when the last movement begins the listener has travelled far. And then this monumental movement opens more doors and has such power that it is impossible to stay unmoved. For each musician in the orchestra and choir this work demands total commitment and strength, but it also gives many rewards both to player and listener. Read the rest of this entry »

Our latest podcast is now available for your listening pleasure and takes a look at our mini-fest at Kings Place next week, Beethoven with Guts. Complimenting our Symphony Series over at the Southbank Centre the festival includes lots of Beethoven’s chamber music plus some more unusual events including a chance to play along with the OAE and even try some dance moves to his music. Featured on the podcast are OAE Leader Alison Bury, our Education Manager and Oboist Cherry Forbes and, er, me.

Listen to it here. Or search on itunes for Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Should you feel motivated to buy tickets then this is a good place to head.

Does anyone use Soundcloud? Would that be a useful place for our audio content to go as well? Let us know.

William Norris, Marketing Director

OAE on Twitter

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