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In this latest video OAE violinist and musicologist Roy Mowatt explores what gives Handel’s music its mass, immediate appeal:

 

Join us tomorrow for A celebration of Handel, live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

A few pictures snapped by our Intern Georgina of the OAE in rehearsal last week with two conductors – Roy Goodman rehearsing us at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for that evening’s performance of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, and Robin Ticciati at the helm in rehearsal for Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni.

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 »

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

Tonight sees our very first live stream of a concert, direct from the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.
We’ll be ‘on air’ from 5.45pm, with the OAE Extras event when conductor David Zinamn will be interviewed by broadcaster Rob Cowan. This will be followed at 7pm by the concert itself: Mendelssohn’s Overture, Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.1 (with soloist Antony Pay) and then Beethoven’s Symphony No.7.

We’ll be doing a repeat of the stream this Saturday live from Basingstoke’s Anvil, starting at 7.45pm, and straight into the concert.

There’ll be live chat during the show so feel free to ask us some (easy) questions! Ceri, Megan, Zen and myself (William) will all be answering your burning OAE queries.

View the live stream here

Enjoy!

OAE goes green

As you might have gathered, we’re about to start our first fully fledged ‘Green Tour’ of the UK this month, kicking off with a sold-out concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night (8 Feb) conducted by David Zinman, followed by a trip up to Keswick in the Lake District, Sheffield, and then back down to Basingstoke.  We’re very lucky to be able to provide a live streaming of both the London and Basingstoke concerts which will be featured on various different websites including Ustream, Youtube and Facebook (more details in our previous blog entry).

But that’s not all the eco-warriors at the OAE have been doing… Read the rest of this entry »

Next week brings another OAE first – we’re doing our first ever live concert stream, in collaboration with IC247.

Our From a dream to revolution concert on Tuesday 8 February at the Queen Elizabeth hall will be streamed online live and free, starting with the pre-concert interview with conductor David Zinman at 5.45pm and then followed by the concert at 7pm.

It ties neatly into our green initaitive which accompanies next week’s tour (of which, more soon), enabling those unable to come to the concert to still enjoy it.

The concert will be streamed live here and if you use Facebook you can find the relevant event here.

The programme is:

5.45pm: OAE Extras Broadcaster Rob Cowan talks to David Zinman about his career and recordings.

7pm: From a dream to revoulution

Mendelssohn Overture, Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Weber Clarinet Concerto No.1 in F minor
Beethoven Symphony No.7

David Zinman conductor
Antony Pay clarinet

You can download a free programme to accompany your listening here – this will be available from Monday 7 Feb.

Lastly, if you want to listen to this concert ‘in the flesh’ then it tours to Keswick (with Eduardo Portal replacing David Zinman) on 9 Feb, Sheffield City Hall on 10 Feb and Basingstoke’s Anvil on 12 Feb. London is now sold out but more tickets will be released at 12 noon on the day.

Well, this time last week we had the latest of our late night series of events, The Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It really feels like the series has ‘come of age’ now, with the event being the third in the last year to sell out, and our very first sell out at Southbank Centre. It’s just sad to have to turn people away! We hope everyone who came had a great night, and we have had some great feedback on Twitter. More feedback, good or bad, is always welcome though, as it helps us improve future events.

This is a bit of a roundup from the last event, and below are some pics,  vox pops from the audience, a few Tweets, plus presenter Alistair Appleton has made a Spotify playlist of his favourite music by Mahler, for your further listening pleasure. The next one, on 4 May, is already on sale, and needless to say, we recommend early booking!

Tweets

ThoroughlyGood Oh dear God. Where’s @theoae presenter? http://boo.fm/b258585
tomjennings Really enjoyed The Night Shift at Southbank Centre. @theoae doing Liszt’s Les Preludes and Mahler’s Totenfeier. Looking forward to next gig.
colinmyer At the #NightShift in the QEH on the South Bank. Translation: look how cultured I am.
thoroughlygood If Mahler’s Totenfeier represents what happens directly after death then I see little difference with a normal day at work. #thenightshift
payamtorabi‎ Night Shift with the OAE: inspirationally different approach to music. Well worth going if you get the chance.
Artyomliss‎ The Night Shift @Southbank. Is it right to be attempting to turn a classical music performance into a “facebook-style event”? Discuss…
101holidays Great performance by @theoae at the Southbank Centre last night. Love the Night Shift

Vox Pops

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago members of the OAE Office team were lucky enough to have a special backstage tour of the Royal Festival Hall. Now ordinarily this wouldn’t be *that* interesting, because we all get to see backstage whenever we have a concert. But this tour went beyond backstage, past the dressing rooms into the real guts of the Royal Festival Hall!

First off we were led up to a room near the roof, where an array of antique machines were whirring away. Turns out they are original 1950’s air circulating equipment, maintaining fresh air (but not air-con) to all the backstage areas. They are so well made and reliable they didn’t need to be replaced during the hall’s recent refurb. After this we climbed up onto the roof of the hall and then through a small door into the part of the roof that sticks up above the rest. It looked like we were inside a spaceship, as every surface was covered in foil. This was in fact the air-con plant for the hall, maintaining it at a steady temperature – all this is brand new equipment as before the refurbishment the hall didn’t have any air conditioning.

Section of original ceiling, held to the struts by cloth soaked in plaster!

Now onto one of the more fascinating/terrifying parts of the tour as we were led above the very ceiling of the Royal Festival Hall. Here we could see how the acoustic sails above the stage can be moved and sound and light equipment be lowered in. A series of metal gantries runs over the ceiling now, which was completely reonstructed during the refurbishment but looks to the observer (from below) exactly the same as before. This would have all been a good deal more scary before the refurbishment as then there were no gantries and instead technicians had to carefully slide on wooden boards over the metal struts holding the ceiling ups. One slip and their legs would have gone straight through the horsehair and plaster ceiling – which in any case was only tied to the metal struts with bits of cloth dipped in plaster! Luckily in 50 years there were no accidents. The last two sections of ceiling have been left as they were and you can see how fragile they are. As we walked over the roof you could glimpse the hall below, which personally I found pretty terrifying!

After this we went to the ‘follow spot’ area at the back of the hall to see the Read the rest of this entry »

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