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Viola player Annette Isserliss concludes her US tour diary:

Thurs 17th

Awoke wondering how on earth the OAE homeward travellers (the players who weren’t staying on for the Heiner Goebbel’s concert) had managed to rouse themselves to leave at 6.00 am! Took the subway (with viola in tow) to meet cousin Judy in Chelsea, and after a guided tour of some of the finer architectural sights, we climbed up onto the High Walk: converted from an old railway on an overpass to a garden walk with views of Chelsea Harbour with Hoboken,New Jersey beyond, on one side, and interesting city glimpses on the other. Although botanically at this time of year it was confined to almost-budding saplings and crocuses (crocii??) it was exceedingly pleasant in the mellow sunshine. As we approached a bench with a be-hatted native simultaneously basking and scribbling, it looked up, and turned out to be fello viola Nick Logie! He was staying in NY a bit longer, not only for the sponsors’ reception that evening, but because his eldest son Sascha is currently working in NY for the UN. Read the rest of this entry »

Viola player Annette (known to many in the OAE as ‘Netty’) Isserlis made a diary of our recent tour to the US. Here’s days 1-3 with the rest following tomrorow. We hope to post some pics up soon too… A few additions from the blog editor in the brackets!

Mon Mar 14

Scene: Carluccio’s, outside Terminal 5, LHR.

Breakfast with husband Ken between red-eye flight in from Schipol (following 2 OAE concerts in Groningen and Nijmingen with Rachel Podger), and impending flight to USA: Ken to LA for solo concerts and Me to Boston with OAE and Sir Roger (Norrington), continuing the CPE Bachfest.
Dreadful news continuing to come through about the Japanese Disaster(s). Ken’s family all ok.

Painless flight to Boston followed by similarly painless Immigration, amazingly! It transpired that he chatty officer knew Yo-yo Ma personally….

Convivial dinner and bed not too early: it’s the only way to sleep through the 1st night, in my experience.
Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday saw the Orchestra travel from Boston to New York for that evening’s concert at Lincoln Center – and it was also Sir Roger Norrington’s Birthday. At the Boston concert he was presented with this very appropriate T Shirt (we were playing the music of CPE Bach) which he proudly wore on the coach down to New York. A full report on the tour to follow soon, and if you’re in New York you can still catch the OAE when we combine with the London Sinfonietta tomorrow for a performance of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of Wars I Have Seen tomorrow evening (18 March).

As we’ve blogged before, organising USA Work Visas for the Orchestra is in no way fun. We’re going through the whole process again now in readiness for our tour to Boston and New York next month. Members of the Orchestra came into the office on Sunday to fill in their forms. This is the effect it had on our leader, Matthew Truscott…

Matthew Truscott

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 »

Here’s a selection of pictures from our recent trip to New York – all photos by our Projects Officer, Megan Russell.

I love my job at the OAE – but I have what is probably considered by most of the Orchestra as the most boring job of all.  I spend my time writing funding applications and reports, grappling with budgets and dealing with outcomes, demographics, providing evidence etc.

Fundraising event in NYC

NYC Fundraising event

None of this is considered exciting blog material by other people – so I’ve never been let loose on the OAE blog before.  But for the first time, here I am writing a blog about my time in New York with the OAE.

You might think that New York is about as far away from fundraising applications and report as you can get.  Except that the reason I get to go to America is central to my job.  Not only do we have a big American benefit dinner (at Times Square no less!), but we have US foundation contacts, donors and prospects attending the Orchestra’s two Lincoln Center concerts.

Arriving in the US (for my first time ever!) with the Orchestra, I have a short while to get my bearings before having to rustle up a 10 seater taxi come limo to whisk me and members of the Orchestra off to Thomson Reuters’ building at Times Square.  There we join my colleagues Duke and Claire and members of the Orchestra have been rehearsing and setting up our first American benefit. Read the rest of this entry »

How does one reawaken a concert programme last performed, as was the situation with our first New York concert, some three weeks earlier? In the case of a conductor like Iván Fischer, with a mixture of playful concepts which help to unlock profound ideas; and, in the case of a slightly jet-lagged orchestra, by allowing us to be carried by the strength of the music and forget that an 8pm concert in New York is, in fact, a midnight concert in the UK (North America went over to summer-time a week earlier than Europe, so for that particular week there was only a four-hour time difference).

OAE and BFO at Lincoln Center

In London, the two programmes with Iván formed part of our Beethoven Cycle which is taking place this spring (2010). However, in New York, it was a very different kind of Beethoven cycle. The result of a brainchild, nurtured by Jane Moss (vice-president of programming at Lincoln Center) for the past six years, had Iván conducting all nine symphonies in four consecutive days; with OAE on original instruments for the first two concerts (symphonies 2 & 3 and symphonies 1, 8 & 5) followed with his own orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, on conventional instruments, also performing two concerts (symphonies 4 & 7 and symphonies 6 & 9). Unfortunately, OAE had to return home without hearing either the BFO rehearsals or concerts. However, members of the BFO did come to our second rehearsal and this provided an opportunity for a group photo featuring both orchestras. It was great to meet our Hungarian colleagues and a special pleasure for me to meet up again with Gaby, Iván’s wife and superb flute player. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a few reviews from our concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center. Watch out for a blog article from OAE viola player Nick Logie coming very soon.

New York Times
New York Times again

Manhattan Head Rush blog

Conductor Iván Fischer tries out a Double Bass

Well I am back at Alice Tully Hall in the orchestra manager’s room typing this on day two of our trip to New York. Last night’s concert went really well, we had a standing ovation from the audience and the players and Iván were really pleased with it.  After another New Yorker breakfast of waffles and fruit (very tasty!) with the girls from the Development team we have an open rehearsal this morning for the friends of the Lincoln Center. We also have some members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) listening to the rehearsal, they are completing the Beethoven Symphony Cycle with us here. Iván called me into his dressing room this morning, he was very pleased as his ‘touring wardrobe’ had arrived with the BFO. A flight case complete with suit, iron, ironing board, baton drawer and coffee maker!

Our second and final concert is tonight, we will be performing symphonies nos. 1, 8 and 5. I’m hoping to sneak into the audience and listen for a bit tonight once I have done my backstage duties here as the hall is fantastic. Before that, I’ve got a bit of free time this afternoon so I think I’ll take in a few more of the sights – yesterday I managed to fit in Times Square, the Rockerfeller Centre, Grand Central station and ‘World of M&Ms’ – so tacky you couldn’t help but like it! So I’m going to head down to the southern tip of Manhatten and take the Staten Island ferry and see the Statue of Liberty.

I was very pleased to find out yesterday that our return flights for tomorrow were not cancelled (we are travelling on British Airways!!!) so the final instalment will come next week when we have arrived back in the UK.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

(editors note – watch out for further NYC news from Nick Logie in the Orchestra very soon)



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