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Our pre-concert ‘OAE Extras’ event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall this week is an extra special one – a reconstruction of a Royal Flute Lesson. The event is the brainchild of Principal Flute Lisa Beznosiuk and Sub-Principal Neil McLaren, and as well as being a good excuse for them to dress up, it also redresses the fact that there are no flutes in the evening’s concert!

CPE Bach (whose music is featured in the following concert at 7pm) worked in the court of Frederick the Great and the event features music as well as drama, including CPE Bach’s Trio Sonata.

In the video below Lisa and Neil talk about the event, after a run though they had done at our offices. Do come and join us for the lesson this Thursday, 5.45pm at the Queen Elizabeth Hall – after all, it’s not every day that you get a Royal invite!

More information on the concert here

A couple of pics from today’s rehearsal of CPE Bach with Sir Roger Norrington.

Next week is CPE Bach week here at the OAE. Or, as we have called the concert, The other amazing Mr Bach week.  It kicks off Sunday in Bradford-on-Avon with a concert of his music conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, which then comes to London on Thursday 3 March. Then we have a study day on 5 March, again at London’s Southbank Centre, allowing you to delve deeper into the composer and music. After that we’re off to the States – with concerts in Boston and New York, but more of that another time.

In today’s Guardian there’s a feature in which journalist Guy Damman argues that CPE’s Bach is unjustly neglected. He quotes musicologist Annette Richards who says:

“His music – or the music he considered representative of his talents – is miles away from the elegance and balance we associate with this period. Timelines are crisscrossed, he is endlessly stopping and starting, wrong-footing the listener and causing his audience to reconsider its relation to the music. In that sense, it’s very postmodern, a kind of meta-music.”

Read the whole article here, and if you use Spotify you can listen to the first movement of the Cello Concerto we are playing here.

No, really, we are.

It’s also joyous, intense, life enhancing and dance-like. Sounds like pretty good stuff eh?

In this, one of our latest videos, Alison Bury (violinist and OAE Leader) and Nicholas Mulroy (tenor from the Choir of the Enlightenment) talk about this extraordinary piece, which as you will know, as just been released by us on our new label.  Enjoy the video, and remember you can order it direct through us for the knockdown price of £15 for the two CD set. Plus first 100 orders get a FREE OAE book. Also on that link are directions to various places you can download the recording.

As mentioned below, our concert in Sheffield last week had a rather odd start.

The Orchestra came on stage on time for a 7pm start, all fine. We settled in our seats. The Management team of 3 (myself, CEO Stephen Carpenter and Projects Director Ceri) were all split up in the hall, rather than sitting together as we supposed to. As usual there was that moment when the Orchestra stops tuning and the crowd goes suddenly quiet, waiting for the conductor to appear. Except that he didn’t.

5 minutes later he still hadn’t. Rather odd. The crowd was getting restless.

After a little longer Orchestra Leader Matthew Truscott got up (to applause) and left the stage, presumably to find out what was happening.

He didn’t return.

At this point I texted Ceri, asking if she knew what was up. She didn’t. I suggested that conductor David Zinman was either unwell or had got the start time wrong. Both seemed a little unlikely. Unfortunately I made a typo and said “Either I’ll or has got the…”. So I re-sent the world ‘ill’ on its own. Ceri took this as confirmation that he was indeed ill and I apparently set her mind immediately racing as to what we would do! Read the rest of this entry »

The first reviews for the premiere recording on our new label OAE Released are in, and we were thrilled to be awarded a full 5 stars in The Independent, with the reviewer stating “Not all orchestras are the same, runs the message on the cover, and it’s true.”

Read this review and another online one below, and don’t forget you can purchase the CD direct through us on our website. Also click through for details of download sites and other suppliers.

The Independent

Classical CD Reviews

Our brand new year of concerts at Southbank Centre (many of which will go on to tour nationally and internationally) has just gone on public sale. It’s fair to say we are quite excited about the season here at OAE towers – when looking at it for the press release we realised that it is possibly the broadest selection of music we have EVER presented – with music from Gabrieli right up to a brand new comisssion from Sally Beamish. We think that not only is it our broadest season but possibly the broadest of any orchestra in London. Let us know if you think otherwise!

Click through to our nifty flippable season diary (the full brochure will be out in April) and if you want to get in early and book you can do so here. We’d love to know what you’re looking forward to most, and why, and we’ll post a selection of our own picks here in the weeks and months to come. Enjoy!


Back in January before our Mahler/Wagner/Liszt Symphonic Enlightenment concert at the RFH, Robert Philip gave a pre-concert talk discussing what impact the onset of the ‘recording era’ in the early 20th century had in helping us to understand what Mahler’s sound-world might have been like.   Take a listen:

Pre-concert talk: Robert Philip – 21 January 2011 by OAE


This week, Lisa Sian tells us about the joys of working in the OAE office…

What’s your role in the OAE office?

Finance Director and Company Secretary.


What does your typical day involve?

Creating budgets, checking incomes and costs against budgets, reporting to other management and the board, currently I am finalising our most recent Audit, and have started to prepare for our upcoming AGM with notices going for members.


What – or where – is perfection?

Sailing and walking in the Scottish West Highlands – big open landscapes and no traffic, no air pollution, & no poisonous snakes.


Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Master Li Mu Bai, cool calm and collected. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week’s tour took us to a venue entirely new to the OAE, Sheffield’s City Hall. After the intimacy of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick (in the latter we could barely squeeze onto the stage!), the huge expanse of the City Hall, which seats over 2000, came as a bit of a shock! It really is an amazing auditorium, with many players reaction as they walked onto the stage for the first time being: wow. During the rehearsal I got a bit snap-happy, so here are some pictures of the auditorium and Orchestra in rehearsal.

The auditorium is a perfect oval – I’m not sure I have ever been in an oval hall before. It seemed to have some unusual acoustic properties – at some points it felt like the horns were sitting right next to me, playing into my ear! You can find out more about this beautiful hall on their website.

Oh, and we had an unusual start to the concert too. More on that next time.

William Norris, Communications Director

OAE on Twitter

February 2011

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