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As has become customary at this time of year we asked around the office and orchestra for people’s top OAE moments of 2010. There are definitely a few trends in the below… and we’d love to know what your top OAE moments of the year were too.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether Beethoven with Iván Fischer or Bach with John Butt wins my best moment of 2010? I’vedecided it’s John Butt because I have not worked with him as a director before. John is a leading Bach scholar and there were constant pearls of wisdom and humour (always a good thing in rehearsals). He is such an open and physically uninhibited musician. One of my favourite moments was when he asked us to be like evil black poodles—- all I could think of was Cruella de Vil! Not very 18th century but it worked.

Martin Kelly, Viola and Vice-Chairman

It was definitely Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne which I had the pleasure of watching twice; firstly on our annual office trip and the next time with my mum when we were caught in the worst downpour of the summer. The poor dressed up Glyndebourne-dwellers were darting, bubbly in arms, into any available shelter possible during the interval and it was a sorry, soggy lot of us who trudged back into the performance. It was my mum’s first visit to Glyndebourne though and she didn’t care at all. Don Giovanni was amazing all the way through but I especially loved the very end. Those dramatic scales over the descending bass line plus the Commendatore bellowing ‘Don Giovanni!’ certainly made for a spine tingling death scene!

Natalie Chivers, Education Projects Manager

I loved the Creation education project.

The chaos of moving 800 children that preceeded and followed the event was quite something; the silence and concentration of all those pupils watching and engaged during the performance in a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall was striking. I had great fun and learnt a lot about DNA!

The Night shift at the Roundhouse in January was amazing too.

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager, Individual Giving

Without a doubt, the Iván Fischer Beethoven concerts in March – particularly at the Lincoln Center in New York where we gave two concerts as part of a complete cycle of the Symphonies with Iván’s “other” Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which gave two concerts as well.  The audience reaction and Iván’s inspiring and totally unique conducting style produced electrifying musical moments of the year.

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a selection of pictures from our recent trip to New York – all photos by our Projects Officer, Megan Russell.

How does one reawaken a concert programme last performed, as was the situation with our first New York concert, some three weeks earlier? In the case of a conductor like Iván Fischer, with a mixture of playful concepts which help to unlock profound ideas; and, in the case of a slightly jet-lagged orchestra, by allowing us to be carried by the strength of the music and forget that an 8pm concert in New York is, in fact, a midnight concert in the UK (North America went over to summer-time a week earlier than Europe, so for that particular week there was only a four-hour time difference).

OAE and BFO at Lincoln Center

In London, the two programmes with Iván formed part of our Beethoven Cycle which is taking place this spring (2010). However, in New York, it was a very different kind of Beethoven cycle. The result of a brainchild, nurtured by Jane Moss (vice-president of programming at Lincoln Center) for the past six years, had Iván conducting all nine symphonies in four consecutive days; with OAE on original instruments for the first two concerts (symphonies 2 & 3 and symphonies 1, 8 & 5) followed with his own orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, on conventional instruments, also performing two concerts (symphonies 4 & 7 and symphonies 6 & 9). Unfortunately, OAE had to return home without hearing either the BFO rehearsals or concerts. However, members of the BFO did come to our second rehearsal and this provided an opportunity for a group photo featuring both orchestras. It was great to meet our Hungarian colleagues and a special pleasure for me to meet up again with Gaby, Iván’s wife and superb flute player. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a few reviews from our concerts at New York’s Lincoln Center. Watch out for a blog article from OAE viola player Nick Logie coming very soon.

New York Times
New York Times again

Manhattan Head Rush blog

Conductor Iván Fischer tries out a Double Bass

Well I am back at Alice Tully Hall in the orchestra manager’s room typing this on day two of our trip to New York. Last night’s concert went really well, we had a standing ovation from the audience and the players and Iván were really pleased with it.  After another New Yorker breakfast of waffles and fruit (very tasty!) with the girls from the Development team we have an open rehearsal this morning for the friends of the Lincoln Center. We also have some members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) listening to the rehearsal, they are completing the Beethoven Symphony Cycle with us here. Iván called me into his dressing room this morning, he was very pleased as his ‘touring wardrobe’ had arrived with the BFO. A flight case complete with suit, iron, ironing board, baton drawer and coffee maker!

Our second and final concert is tonight, we will be performing symphonies nos. 1, 8 and 5. I’m hoping to sneak into the audience and listen for a bit tonight once I have done my backstage duties here as the hall is fantastic. Before that, I’ve got a bit of free time this afternoon so I think I’ll take in a few more of the sights – yesterday I managed to fit in Times Square, the Rockerfeller Centre, Grand Central station and ‘World of M&Ms’ – so tacky you couldn’t help but like it! So I’m going to head down to the southern tip of Manhatten and take the Staten Island ferry and see the Statue of Liberty.

I was very pleased to find out yesterday that our return flights for tomorrow were not cancelled (we are travelling on British Airways!!!) so the final instalment will come next week when we have arrived back in the UK.

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

(editors note – watch out for further NYC news from Nick Logie in the Orchestra very soon)



Megan, our Projects Manager, got an unexpected trip to NYC with the Orchestra this week. One of the violinists was unwell so we had a spare place, so after weeks of processing visa applications it was only fair that Megan got to go! Yesterday she sent us a quick report:

Well the orchestra is now safely installed and rehearsing. Philippa and I unloaded the van this morning with all the gear. We had a yummy NY breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs and maple syrup and then came back to the hall and the tech crew had done the set up for us. They are really great here, really friendly and seem to be on top of everything. Andrea and Lisa were here at 8am so met both of them. Will swing by the Empire (It is literally right across the road) (ed’s note – Empire is the hotel we usually stay at but was too expensive this time!), the Lucerne (the hotel we are at this time) is about a 10 minute walk and is quite nice. I’ll also go and check out ink48 too (another hotel we are checking out for our next trip here)

The gala event last night was fantastic. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. Thompson Reuters put on a great dinner and the view was fab – on the 30th floor. The players presentation went really well, I think they were really pleased with it all. Hope all is well at mission control, say hi to the gang.

Philippa, our Orchestra Manager also emailed us a few pics:

Here’s a selection of reviews from our concerts at the Southbank with Iván Fischer recently.

4 March (Symphonies 2 & 3)

The Times
Guardian

The Arts Desk

10 March (Symphonies 1,8 & 9)

Independent
Guardian

Both concerts were broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and you can still listen to Symphonies 2&3 here until tomorrow and 1, 8 & 5 here until next Monday.

We’re repeating the concerts in New York next week – with the Budapest Festival Orchestra also playing at Lincoln Center at the same time, so between us we’ll play a whole Beethoven cycle, all conducted by Iván Fischer. The only small fly in the ointment at the moment is the BA strike, so while we can get there we’re not entirely sure how we’re getting home yet…

It’s been a little while since we posted here – apologies. It’s not because nothings been happening at OAE towers, far from it, in fact I think quite the opposite! The Orchestra has been busy rehearsing for Tamerlano at the Royal Opera House. We had the final rehearsal on Tuesday (which is like a proper performance really) and all went well, though it’s hard work for the Orchestra – 3.5 hours of music! It’s a spectacular production, particularly if you’re fond of blue elephants (!), so do catch it if you can. First night is this Friday and details are here, togeher with a pic of the blue elephant.

You can also view a trailer for the production here.

Meanwhile we’ve also been rehearsing for the next concerts in our Beethoven Symphony Series – the next two concerts are with Iván Fisher (pictured rehearsing with us yesterday), and we’ll perform No’s 2&3 tonight at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and 1,8 & 5 at the Royal Festival Hall next Wednesday, the 10th. Then, at the end of the month we travel to New York City where we give the same two concerts at the Lincoln Center – Iván will also be conducting his own Budapest Festival Orchestra there in two concerts and between the two orchestras we’ll give a complete Beethoven symphony cycle. Reports from players and staff will of course appear here.

Meanwhile last week five of use from the office travelled up to Glasgow for the annual Association of British Orchestras concference – which this year focused on identity. More on that soon…

William Norris, Marketing Director

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