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Last week four of us from the office went to visit the Roundhouse in advance of our Night Shift event there in January. It’s a new venue for us so there was quite a lot to find out about the venue and decide upon. Currently it’s set up for a circus show, La Clique, so we had to imagine how it would look in January. The main difference is of course that there will be a stage in place, but the seating will be much the same. The Roundhouse doesn’t often host classical concerts so we had to discuss the chairs being used for the Orchestra, what risers they have (the raised blocks the woodwind, brass and percussion sit on) and where they should be placed, as well as looking at dressing rooms for conductor, presenter, leader and Orchestra. We ran up against a slight problem for the latter as the larger rooms we could use for the bulk of the orchestra are in the basement and the only way into the auditorium seemed to be via the outside! I’m sure we’ll find a solution! As it’s a Night Shift we also talked about what we could do with the lighting, and how the live video will work. The crew at The Roundhouse were all incredibly helpful, so we’re sure it’ll all go smoothly, and should be a fantastic event. I took a couple of quick pictures of the inside, but they’re incredibly bad quality – apologies!

This is probably our last post until the new year – so hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy new year.

William Norris, Marketing Director

Last Tuesday the OAE office resounded to the sounds of a drill and much shouting, often along the lines of ‘no, I told you it wouldn’t go there’, or ‘It says part A should slot into part C, but I can’t find part C!’. The reason was the assembly of our new table football table, a shared purchase with the London Sinfonietta, ready in time for our joint Christmas party the next day. After much driling, shouting and a couple of hours, Michael and Megan suceeded in putting the table up, and the table was immediately in use for a grudge match between the Chief Executives of each organisation! See below, Andrew Burke of London Sinfonietta (left) and Stephen Carpenter from the OAE.

We had a fantastic Night Shift event back on 5 December with Marin Alsop. Marin was on top form, and led an entertaining tour through Mozart’s Symphony 40, conducting great performances of each movement and engaging in some banter with presenter Alistair Appleton inbetween! Afterwards, despite having had an afternoon rehearsal and 7pm concert, as well as the Night Shift, Marin gamely suggested a post show Q+A which proved to be fascinating. My favourite answer from Marin was when someone asked her about how it was being a female in a male dominated profession. Marin recounted a tale from her first appearance at La Scala in Milan, where she was the first woman ever to conduct . At the Press conference the very first question was ‘So do you cook’?

Anyway, here are a selection of pictures from the evening, all taken by Joe Plommer.
View the complete set of official pics here, or the audience pics (taken on disposable cameras we gave out) here.

Our next Night Shift is at the Roundhouse on 29 January.

William Norris, Marketing Director

Somewhat belated, (entirely my fault) but here are some pictures of the cast taking their bows at our performance of Maria di Rohan at the Royal Festival Hall last month. Thanks to Opera Rara for the pictures!

William, Marketing Director

I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last Thursday, pretty exhausted from our concert the night before with Sir Mark Elder conducting the OAE in Haydn’s Creation, to help out at our schools concert based around the same piece of music. I had been told that there’d be 800 kids from various schools we work with in the local Camden/Islington area as well as some who’d travelled down from Suffolk, but I couldn’t imagine quite how noisy and packed the Front Room of the QEH would be! The aim of the day was to explore the links between music and science through activities in the foyer and then a concert in the main hall.

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After our last Night Shift on 5 December we caught up with conductor Marin Alsop backstage, and asked her how the concert had been and how it was working with the OAE. Listen to the full interview at the next Night Shift podcast, out at the end of January.

The next Night Shift event is at Camden’s Roundhouse on 29 January, when we’ll be performing Beethoven with Vladimir Jurowski. Details

On the performance

On performing with the OAE

Our performance of Haydn’s Creation at the Royal Festival Hall last week was our last this year in London, and here’s what the reviewers made of it. What did you think?

The Times
Financial Times
Classical Source
Whats on Stage

It’s going to be a bumper day on the blog today, as I have rather a lot of stories and things saved up! I’ve hesitated posting this because of the sheer embarrassment, but, selfless as I am, I’ll do it for the good of the OAE. As readers of the blog will know we have an office running club – which has sprung out of Ceri’s enthusiasm for running and also from the Association of British Orchestras Healthy Orchestra initiative. Anyway, we go running weekly, though last week there were just three of us. Halfway through the run we all realised that we were wearing identical Night Shift T shirts, which may have explained some of the funny looks (well, better to assume it’s that than my painfully white legs!). A whole new marketing initiative, and it happened by accident…
(pictured, L-R  Natasha Stehr, me, Natalie Chivers. I hope they will forgive me!)

William Norris, Marketing Director

So, what do a pre-concert Leonard Bernstein film & talk in the Purcell Room, a Night Shift in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and a pre-concert Spirit of the Creation talk in the Royal Festival Hall all have in common?  Well, apart from all having been events run by OAE at and all having occurred last week, they all featured yours truly leaping (!) around all 3 different auditoriums with a roving microphone enabling members of the audience to engage in a spot of Question and Answering with the speakers on stage – which across these 3 events included; Humphrey Burton, Marshall Marcus, Marin Alsop, Alistair Appleton, the whole of the OAE, David Stancliffe and Helen Marriage!!

So what did I learn?

  • The various audiences at all these events do like to ask lots of insightful questions:  Fantastic start, you’ve all been paying attention.
  • That boots with a bit of a heel are not the ideal choice of footwear for the task.
  • That one question to the next will be inevitably from opposite sides of the auditorium.  Thanks for that, just as well I enjoy a bit of exercise.
  • That just because the Purcell room is smaller it doesn’t make it any easier – those shallow steps are tricky to navigate.
  • & lastly that actually the job was quite fun and I’m looking forward to doing it again at the next pre-concert talk on 28 January, as well as listening to all your questions!

Ceri Jones, Project Manager

In preparation for our Haydn Creation concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night we rehearsed for a few days in Cecil Sharpe House, in a leafy street just by Regents Park. I arrived at the rehearsal the other morning to find an extra special member of the orchestra purring around the hall. A local cat had managed to sneak into the rehearsal room and was making friends with various members of the Orchestra, including Anthony Bailey (one of our young players on the Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience scheme) who is in the photo. Unfortunately we couldn’t let it stay for the rehearsal as it had a bell around its neck which might have been a little distracting!

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

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December 2009

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