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As I write this the OAE is downstairs in Hall 2 of Kings Place where they are in day three of rehearsals with Sir Simon Rattle. Sir Simon is one of the OAE’s closest collaborators and has worked with us almost since the Orchestras inception – his first concert was in 1987, just a year after the Orchestra was founded. Now one of the OAE’s three Principal Artists, (alongside Vladimir Jurowski and Iván Fischer) he works with us on a regular basis, with a tour most seasons. In the rehearsal yesterday we caught up with some OAE players in the break to ask them just what makes him such a special and exciting conductor to work with.

William Norris, Communications Director

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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 »

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