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Pic by Joe PlommerFriday saw the latest in our series of schools concerts at our London HQ, Kings Place. Around 400 children joined the OAE, and when we say joined, we really mean it – they helped swell the ranks of the Orchestra to unprecedented proportions! The event generated a fair bit of media interest, with our new OAE musicians appearing on the BBC London radio breakfast show and the concert also being covered by ITV’s London tonight – watch and listen below.

London Tonight report

BBC London Breakfast (2hrs, 45mins in)

Kings Lynn family concert

Kings Lynn family concert

One of the things I most love about playing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is the variety- the spice of a freelance musician’s life.

I’m currently halfway between Kings Lynn and Glyndebourne (somewhere in Essex): halfway between schools and family concerts of Don Giovanni and the second night of Rinaldo: halfway between an audience of hundreds who had never been in the same room as an opera singer before, and an audience famously passionate about opera.

Just to put your minds at rest, I’m not actually driving as I type.

Forget the vuvuzelas – for me there’s nothing like the sound of 300 children buzzing with anticipation and excitement before the start of a schools’ concert. The children in Kings Lynn were there as composers, performers, and audience. You ain’t heard nothing till you hear the Corn Exchange full of children singing Fin ch’han dal vino. They loved it so much they just couldn’t stand still as they sang it.

They were guided through the concert by the fantastic James Redwood and OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes as they heard about the dastardly Don Giovanni, listened to the OAE play Mozart, performed their new songs and of course heard Real Live Opera Singers from Glyndebourne…the ones that don’t need microphones! Read the rest of this entry »

I am writing this on my final day here at the OAE. Firstly I should just explain the title ….on my second day here I got to accompany Megan to Glyndebourne to see Don Giovanni conducted by Vlad, and tonight on my last day is the fantastic concert in the RFH of Wagner, Liszt and Mahler again conducted by Vlad.

I have enjoyed my time here immensely, I was applying to the internship to find out all about ‘orchestra managing’, but have come away with knowledge about stage management, touring, visas, franking machines, rehearsals, lit stands, technical riders, Donor strategy, fixing, programming, recording, marketing, press interviews, the BBC, printing labels, playing the violin, making teas, folding music stands, running rehearsals, ordering bouquets, eating chocolates, evacuating Kings Place, and most of all un-jamming the photocopier. Read the rest of this entry »

This week, continuing our quick questions with the OAE office team, we speak to Natalie Chivers…

What’s your role in the OAE office?Natalie

Education Projects Manager

What does your typical day involve?

Hard question for me! I never know. It could be working at my computer booking players and evaluating or jumping around a school hall with children performing something from an opera or talking to a string club parent about their child’s progress. My job is a big mixture of different things so there’s never a typical day.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

Joe’s, my boyfriend. Even though I’ve just moved in with him (gush) I still seem to ring him the most.

What – or where – is perfection?

A bath and freshly cleaned sheets followed by a lie-in. Simple pleasures.

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

I’m really stuck on this question but one of my favourite characters is Jeff ‘The Dude’ from the Big Lebowski. He’s definitely not a hero but he is very funny and horizontally breezes through life. I’d be like that if I could. Read the rest of this entry »

Here are some pics from Monday’s Creation Education project, a joint effort with Brighton Early Music Festival. The orchestra rehearsed on their own in the morning in St George’s Church, Kemp Town, Brighton. We were then joined by 250 school children in the afternoon, who were EXTREMELY well behaved. At 6pm we were joined by all their parents who were queuing around the block to come and hear them sing some Turkish songs and Part 1 of Haydn’s Creation.

After the performance I nipped down to the beach (looking and feeling very out of place trying to carry my wheelie suitcase down the pebbly beach!) to meet the bassoonist, Zoe and Rebecca, and Lizzy, one of the singers. They were keeping Zoe company as she had decided to go for a swim.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

Here’s a quick interview with Russell Foster, who is co-presenting our family concert on 27 June, which is taking place as part of See Further – the festival of science and arts, 10 days of events celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society. The family concert is inspired by Haydn’s Creation and combines the world’s of music and science to produce an engrossing and fun event for families. More information on the event, which is at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at 4pm, is here.

Russell Foster

What do you fear the most?

For the safety of my children – Charlotte, William, Victoria.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My Wife’s mobile – Elizabeth. She rarely answers!

What – or where – is perfection?

Perfection is subjective and so cannot exist in any substantive way. There is the illusion of perfection and one might feel that some person, object or event is perfect at one moment in time – but alas nothing is truly perfect. Indeed the realisation that nothing can be perfect represents the end of adolescence and the beginning of the management of expectation.

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

Book:              Sherlock Holmes – Awesome powers of Reason

Comic:             Superman –Awesome powers – and appropriately used

TV:                  Dr. Who – Awesome powers – and with a sense of humour

Film:                James Bond – Awesome powers – and likes a dry martini

Opera:             Don Giovanni Awesome powers – very inappropriately used

What’s your favourite ritual?


Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

In Public Life: The Queen – Life of dedication and personal self-sacrifice when it would have been so easy to have sat back and abused a privileged position. Has used position for good.

In My Private Life: My wife Elizabeth for putting up with me and being the most honest and decent person I know. Read the rest of this entry »

The stage is decorated with butterflies, moths and snakes of every hue, heralding the musical kaleidoscope that is about to fill the hall.  An orchestra excitedly assembles, with flutes, keyboards, bassoon, horn, cellos, double-bass, violins, trumpets and percussion – all shepherded by OAE musicians.  I am in the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, about to witness a truly unique musical occasion – as animateur James Redwood puts it in his introduction, “This is the only time this will ever happen!” Read the rest of this entry »

A couple of weeks ago (sorry, bit of a backlog here on the OAE blog) we had the second of two schools concerts here at Kings Place. The first, the week previous, was unfortunately disrupted by one of our all too frequent fire alarms, which necessitates the evaculation of the whole of Kings Place – thousands of people spilling onto the pavement, but this time with the added complication of over 400 children. Read the rest of this entry »

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