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A couple of weeks ago our press team were busy getting papers and the Today programme interested in our story around Mozart Piano Concerto No.23. The press always like a picture to go with a story, so we hunted high and low for a picture of Barbara Ployer – Mozart’s pupil, who the concerto was most likely written for. We searched. And searched. And searched. But came up with nothing. It started to look hopeless. However Natasha, our communications intern, came to the rescue with some highly advanced photoshop skills and, using photographs of OAE staff members Katy Bell (Press Manager) and William Norris (Communications Director) as a starting point, and also piecing together documentary and historical evidence pointing to what Barbara Ployer looked like, she presented to us two startlingly lifelike images. These advanced photomontages are probably the closest we can get today to knowing what Mozart’s pupil looked like.

And, slightly more seriously, we did in the end source a sketch of Barbara Ployer, see it with the Guardian press story here.

Ahead of our The Works performance tonight, in which we’ll be giving the audience a guided tour of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23, here a video with pianist Robert Levin talking about how differently things would have been done in Mozart’s day.

Robert LEVINPianist and scholar Robert Levin appeared with us last night in two concerts (a 7pm and a Night Shift) and today has been on a bit of a media blitz, appearing on Radio 4’s Today programme and the World Service too. There’s also something in the Evening Standard.

The reason? Well Robert has been talking about two things. Last night he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 with us, and Robert’s research strongly points to it being written for a pupil of his, Barbara Ployer, something previously unknown. One of the reasons he suspects this is that he found a coda written for the piece, which was intended for Barbara, and this coda hasn’t been performed for at least 200 years. But alongside this, Robert has been talking about how we perform Mozart these days. Modern performance very much sticks to what is written on the page, with no deviation. But Robert argues that in Mozart’s day there would have been a lot of free rein given to the soloist, to embellish the basic musical line, improvise around it etc. In fact, Robert, argues that his hero, Duke Ellington, is really like a modern-day Mozart.

Robert is performing the Concerto with us again on 4 October, as part of our very first The Works event. In the event he’ll be joined by presenter Suzy Klein, and the first half of the concert will be given over to a ‘guided tour’ of the concerto. More on the event in this previous blog post.

Here’s Robert talking about the concerto, plus links to today’s coverage.

 

 

Robert on the Today Programme

Evening Standard Coverage

When I tell people that I work for an Orchestra and occasionally get to accompany them on tour, they often get very excited and say, ‘ooh isn’t that glamorous’…

Erm… well in a word, not always!  (editor – that’s two words!) This past weekend I was lucky enough to accompany the OAE on one of their 4 trips out to Salzburg to play in the festival’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. I definitely drew the short straw with this one – one of those blink and you’ll miss it 24 hour trips, but I did get to enjoy some stunning opera in one of the worlds classiest and distinguished music festivals so it can’t have been all bad.

Do the negatives cancel out the highlight?  What do you think to this chain of events??

The glamour scale…

Saturday morning aka usually my weekend.  Alarm fails to go off so I have approximately 5 minutes accompanied by sheer panic to get dressed and leave the house (minus).

Arrive at Heathrow Terminal 1, along with the rest of the UK as it’s the first day of the school summer holidays.  Spend ages queuing to check in, then helping to sneak OAE players to the front of the queue and the bag drop so we don’t miss our plane (minus).

Finally, through security and time for a coffee with our orchestra manager, Philippa, Press Manager Katy and the 2 Tony wind players (plus).

Onto the plane, jam my bag in the overhead locker and settle in to my seat, with my free copy of the Daily Mail…(editor – double minus) I’m sandwiched in the middle of a 3. Surrounded by screaming children (minus).

Offered a skanky egg sandwich (minus). Read the rest of this entry »

Next Tuesday 5 July, we’ll be coming straight from Glyndebourne’s Opera House to the Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn to perform in an hour-long family concert, playing highlights from one of Mozart’s most famous pieces, Don Giovanni. OAE musicians will be joined by over 150 children from local schools who’ll be performing live on stage.

We caught up with OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes and composer James Redwood, who’ll both be presenting the concert, to ask them what the audience can expect to see, including a dastardly villain and maybe even a few ghosts!

Tickets are just £5 for adults and £2 for children and can be booked through the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on 01553 764864 or online here.

For more information on this concert and our other Education projects, why not have a look at our website here?

Well today is the first day of our latest project with our Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle (pictured conducting us a few years ago in Budapest). Of course everyone is *quite* excited about it. We’re touring a concert of Mozart and Haydn, which also features pianists Katia & Marielle Labèque playing the Mozart Concerto for two pianos.

This afternoon and evening sees our first rehearsal with Sir Simon (he’s coming to us straight from a project with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), with further rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday (we have a rehearsal of Rinaldo for Glyndebourne on the Tuesday). That evening we’re off to Brussels – staying the night there and onto Luxembourg on Friday. We give a concert in Luxembourg Friday night before travelling onto Paris for a concert there on Saturday. We’ve also just found out that we’re going head to head with the London Symphony Orchestra that night – we’re at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, while they are at the Salle Pleyel – and we’re even staying at the same hotel!

Sunday morning we travel back to London before flying to Dublin for a concert at the National Concert Hall on Monday night. Then it’s an early flight back Tuesday to London and the final concert of the tour at the Royal Festival Hall.

It’s going to be an exciting week and we’re going to try and bring you as much news as possible along the way. Make sure you also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to hear the latest.

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?

This lunch-hour three of us from the office decided to do something a little different and take in some contemporary art. We headed down to the Gagosian gallery in Kings Cross to take a look at K.364, the latest exhibition by artist Douglas Gordon. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a film, shown on two huge screens in a pitch black and slightly unnervingly disorientating space. The film follows two Israeli musicians of Polish descent as they travel from Berlin to Poland and culminates with their performance (with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra) of Mozart’s K.364 Sinfonia Concertante, which we have recently performed on tour and which comes to the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday. While we were there the performance part of the film was playing and it was a fascinating experience, feeling as if you’re really inside the performance, with the sound surrounding and enveloping  you and the film being shown both on the huge screens as well as being reflected in full length mirrors. Definitely worth a visit, though the exhibition closes this Saturday.

You can view a trailer and find out more at the gallery’s website.

Hi everyone. This is my very first spangly blog I’ve written all on my own. I’ve been included on a few but never attempted to write more than 50 words so here goes…

Previous secondary school education project

Previous secondary school education project

My role in the office is Education Projects Manager which means I help run our ever expanding education programme here at the OAE, along with Cherry Forbes (Education Director). Our programme includes loads of creative, instrumental, opera and other various projects designed for tots right through to residents in nursing homes, so the list could go on and on. I wanted to take a few minutes from my day to tell you about a special project we have coming up for GCSE and A-Level students. Maybe then I’ll get a taste for this blogging thing and tell you about everything! You can have that to look forward to….

Mozart is our inspiration in the education department during 2010-11 and in particular we’re looking at his 40th symphony for our school concerts this spring (incidentally you can contact me to enquire about primary school spaces for our school concerts), a music and maths composition project next term and last but not least, our secondary school GCSE and A-Level study day with the OAE on 4 February at Kings Place.

It’s really exciting putting on an event like this where it fits nicely into the music curriculum and you feel it could really benefit everyone, from the students and the school teachers right through to the examiners. All music students have to study Mozart as part of their music syllabus so why not make it more fun and informative for them by chucking them a full live orchestra? Read the rest of this entry »

New Years Eve and New Years Day saw us performing at our King Place Headquarters to packed halls for an all-Mozart programme.OAE at Kings Place The 1 Jan performance was broadcast live by BBC radio 3 and kicked off their Mozart marathon – you can still listen to it here and here (two separate parts) for another 2 days.

The reviews are now in – links below, and our Orchestra Manager Philippa snapped the Orchestra in rehearsal.

Guardian

Financial Times

Independent (surely the wrong star rating?!)

Independent on Sunday

OAE on Twitter

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