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Kevin Griffiths

The current Melgaard OAE Young Conductor, Kevin Griffiths

There are just a matter of weeks left to apply to our OAE Melgaard Young Conductor Scheme.  The scheme has been running now for 4 years, and gives budding young conductors the opportunity to nestle up close with the OAE, observing rehearsals alongside great OAE conductors, getting to know and share knowledge with players, and also gaining an insight into the behind the scenes operations in the office (the most exciting part in my humble opinion…)  Through an application and audition process one conductor will be chosen at the audition day this October (not quite like X-factor but almost as exciting).  The conductor will work with the OAE from the autumn for a period of 9-12 months.

For me this part of the scheme’s schedule is both the most exciting and the most overwhelming.  Exciting because you never quite know where from and how many applications are going to come flooding in –  will the next young Vladimir Jurowski or Sir Simon Rattle be amongst the pile of applications?  We usually get in the range of 100 applications so you can imagine the admin that goes with that….That’s 100 DVD packages arriving on my desk, 100 application forms, 100 CV’s, and 100 support letters.  Anyway – that’s the fun of the job J and as we sometimes say in the office ‘today I’m putting the admin into arts admin’.

Watch this space for future developments… (and find out more details of how to apply here)

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

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

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:

Guardian

Gramophone

Evening Standard

William Norris, Communications Director

Here’s a few pics we took while in rehearsal at the Royal Albert Hall for our BBC Proms performance last Sunday. In the last couple you can see our Melgaard OAE Young Conductor Eduardo Portal on the podium – he probably took over for a bit so that Sir Simon could check the balance further back in the hall. On the night Eduardo conducted the off stage horns in Tristan and Isolde.

Our June OAE podcast is now here, and is, if we say so ourselves a rather good listen. In it, we take a trip to Glyndebourne, catch up with OAE Education Director Cherry to talk about our fantastic Creation project and related Family Concert, chat with Eduardo Portal, the current Melgaard OAE Young Conductor and finally we talk to Eric Richmond (photographer) and Chris Harrison (designer) who are behind our much-talked-about gaffer tape pics.

Or search for us on itunes.

A while back, photographer Karen Robinson was commissioned by Southbank Centre to take pictures of the Resident Orchestras and their major artists, with a view to using the images for the Southbank Centre’s 2010-2011 Classical Music Season. You may well have already seen the photographs in the Southbank’s Classical Music Guide. As part of the project, Karen spent a day with the OAE as we rehearsed and performed Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The results are fantastic, and a wonderful glimpse into what happens backstage at a concert. Here’s an initial selection (from the afternoon rehearsal), and more will follow.

William Norris, Marketing Director

Here’s a selection of pics from our last Night Shift event which was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 25 May. Support for the evening came from Firefly, while the main concert featured the Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Symphony 6, with our Melgaard Young Conductor Eduardo Portal at the helm, making his public debut with us. We wrapped things up with a set from DJ Nick Luscombe. We’ll have more pics and our Night Shift ‘Pod Idol’ competition on here very soon, and if you’re a Night Shift fan keep an eye on the website as we will be announcing our special summer event in the next few weeks. All pics here are by Joe Plommer, and you can view the full gallery of pics here.

Here’s yesterday’s Evening Standard’s coverage of Eduardo Portal making his debut at The Night Shift on Tuesday.

Eduardo is the Melgaard OAE Young Conductor for 2009-2010, and makes his public debut with the OAE at The Night Shift next Tuesday. We asked him to answer a few quick questions for us…

What do you fear the most?
Not to use my life as much as I can and must.

Which mobile number do you call the most?Eduardo Portal
I tend not to call mobile numbers. They are always problematic. Landlines are my favourites.

What – or where – is perfection?
Only God is perfect.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Mr Incredible; he makes my fantasy fly.

What’s your favourite ritual?
To have breakfast in the mornings.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
So many, I couldn’t tell one. Those who understand life.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
To be more delicate.

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre (Royal Festival Hall/Queen Elizabeth Hall/Purcell Room/Hayward Gallery)?
OAE and Ivan Fischer at the RFH doing Beethoven 1, 8 and FIVE!!!

What’s your favourite website?
The newspaper website.

If you could programme your ideal show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
David Oistrakh, Fritz Kreisler and Jacqueline du Pré.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That this life is only a step towards another life.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Hmmm, I do not really play much music like that, luckily I listen to so much live music.

And other stories….  Spring again, so time for another dose of applications to the OAE’s apprentice conductor scheme, The Melgaard OAE Young Conductor Scheme.

The volume of applicants was way up on last year (2010/11 will be the 3rd year of  the application process) so we had a huge task in the Projects team to process everything.  Both our trusty Graduate Intern Jo and myself waded our way through literally hundreds of e-mails and DVD’s arriving in the post.  I think us and the FedEx man could be on first name terms!

Mid March; and with the deadline looming I had an incredible amount of incomplete applications.  The application requires a cover letter, application form, CV, and two letters of support.  All of this was required via e-mail (must be better for the environment).  A DVD with excerpts of their conducting was also a required component.  With all these missing components and failed attempts to send DVDs that actually work (top tip – check the DVD works before you mail it) I couldn’t resist sharing with you some excerpts from e-mails in explanation of not having everything in on time.  Name and locations shall remain nameless… Read the rest of this entry »

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