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A short video from our trip up to Sheffield back in February – a concert which was part of our Green Tour initiative which saw the OAE ditch individual cars in favour of coaches and trains. Though we now know that trains are noisy places in which to film interviews… turn the volume up to hear Ceri at the start! Sadly we didn’t get footage of the venue evacuation, we were too busy wondering what on earth was happening…

Here’s the lastest podcast of our OAE Extras pre-concert events. In this one, from our From a Dream to revolution concert back in February, broadcaster Rob Cowan talks to conductor David Zinman about his career, life and recordings.

Last week’s tour took us to a venue entirely new to the OAE, Sheffield’s City Hall. After the intimacy of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick (in the latter we could barely squeeze onto the stage!), the huge expanse of the City Hall, which seats over 2000, came as a bit of a shock! It really is an amazing auditorium, with many players reaction as they walked onto the stage for the first time being: wow. During the rehearsal I got a bit snap-happy, so here are some pictures of the auditorium and Orchestra in rehearsal.

The auditorium is a perfect oval – I’m not sure I have ever been in an oval hall before. It seemed to have some unusual acoustic properties – at some points it felt like the horns were sitting right next to me, playing into my ear! You can find out more about this beautiful hall on their website.

Oh, and we had an unusual start to the concert too. More on that next time.

William Norris, Communications Director

In honour of the Orchestra’s Green Tour around the UK this week, the office-based administrative team also committed to Green Week.  For a OAE goes greenbit of fun most of us wore something green all week, as a constant reminder about all the things we would 100% commit to do.  I spent the week carrying my thermos flask and a ‘Cats of Cyprus’ fabric shopping bag with me in an attempt to avoid package wastage and also spent the entire week nagging my colleagues about turning their computers off properly at the end of the day… Here’s how I got on the rest of the week…

Monday
A normal day in the office, today, whilst the orchestra were busy rehearsing down at The Warehouse (one of our regular rehearsal venues).  Had a player meeting later on in the day, which required 4 A4 pages of handouts.  I copied them all onto 1 A4 sheet (double-sided and at 50% size), praying that no body minds how small the text would be – reading glasses at the ready! (incidentally I didn’t get any comments).  Later on that day I had the fun task of carrying home a DVD player with large speaker I’d been given (in huuuge box!).  Determined not to cave in and get a taxi I had an interesting journey home, much to the hilarity of my fellow train passengers.

Tuesday
Concert day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, which started with meeting the Web streaming team down at the hall, helping them with their set-up.  Am really excited about the web stream as thousands of people will be able to watch our concert without having to travel anywhere!  I decided to grab a coffee on the way back to the office, and asked if I could get my coffee in my flask (to avoid wasting more cardboard cups).  The barrister had to ask her supervisor if this was OK, which yes it was – result.  Sadly the coffee was made in the cardboard cup and then poured into my flask – FAIL!  Cardboard cup still wasted…

Later on at the hall, was excited to see the signs in the foyer asking our patrons to reuse their programmes, and our article in the programme

Getting the audience to play their part in our green tour

Getting the audience to play their part in our green tour

about the green tour.  Southbank centre is totally on top of environmental issues and recycling etc, so big tick!  It was a shame that on the way home I didn’t screw the lid back on my water bottle properly and by the time I got home my bag and re-useable programme were soaked.  I hope it dries out in time for our next concert on 3rd March. Read the rest of this entry »

We like this Blog entry about our From a dream to revolution concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last week:

Mr and Mrs Brown’s Urban Spree

As mentioned below, last week saw our Orchestra Manager Philippa travelling the country with our little van. Here are some pics of it, we think she got quite attached to it over the tour! Tomorrow we’ll be posting up Ceri Jones’ Green Diary, documenting her ecologically friendly week.

The positive reviews for our current tour with David Zinman continue to come in. You can catch the last performance tonight at the Anvil in Basingstoke or watch it live online for free.

Guardian

Financial Times

There’s also a good review in The Times but we can’t post a link because of their paywall.

Antony Pay is our Principal Clarinettist, and he’s currently on tour with us, taking centre stage with Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.1. There’s Antony Paystill a chance to catch the performance tonight in Sheffield or Saturday in Basingstoke. We put some quick fire questions to him:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
In January 1968 when the London Sinfonietta did its first concert.  That led quite quickly to work with the LPO and the English Chamber Orchestra, and then to my being appointed first clarinet in the RPO under Kempe…I remember it being a golden year!

What do you fear the most?
I feel most terrified in the moments before throwing myself into a challenge; once I’m actually doing it, it isn’t so bad.  On a more trivial level, I don’t like to feel as though I’m looking stupid, so answering questionnaires like this is difficult.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I often call my wife;  sometimes that’s just for a lift back from the railway station, but we speak most days when I’m away.

What – or where – is perfection?
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?” Read the rest of this entry »

First reviews and bloggers are in after our concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night:

Independent (five stars!)

Classical Source

Orpheus Complex

Also some coverage ahead of our debut concert in Sheffield:

Sheffield Telegraph

Remaining concerts in this tour in Sheffield (10 Feb) and Basingstoke (12 Feb)

Last night saw the first of our From a dream to revolution concerts, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It kicked off our green tour, and also saw our very first live stream take place (let us know what you thought if you saw it). The concert got a great reception from a sold out hall, and today sees a slightly tired team back in the office, and the Orchestra speeding up to the Lake District on the train for tonight’s concert in Keswick. Up in Keswick David Zinman is replaced by Eduardo Portal, who some of you may remember was our Melgaard Young Conductor last season.

Below are some pictures from last night, plus Orchestra Manager Philippa with our hired in transit van. Usually, for players with large instruments, it’s up to them to get their instruments to the venue (oviosuly we do transport them for them when we tour overseas!), resulting in many cars being driven to Bristol, Birmingham or wherever it may be. As a small Orchestra we don’t have the luxury of a big truck like the symphony orchestras do! But this time, to save carbon emissions, we’re putting all the large instruments in one van, which Philippa is (at this very moment) driving up to the Lake District. We did joke about buying her some pink fluffy dice to go with her transit van…

Next stop: Sheffield

William Norris, Communications Director

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