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OAE Projects Manager Megan Russell is a keen photographer and took some great pictures from the Luxembourg and Paris legs of the tour – here are a selection:

Here’s a little video diary from our trip to Paris back in January, when we took a supersized OAE there for a concert of Wagner, Liszt and Mahler with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly. We armed Communications Director William Norris with a video camera, and here are the results:

Projects Manager Megan Russell got snapping when we were in Paris with Vladimir Jurowski and our Symphonic Enlightenment programme a couple of weeks ago:

Next month, our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski returns to us to conduct a boundary pushing (for a period instrument orchestra) Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Mahler, Wagner and Liszt. There’s a performance in the Royal Festival Hall on 21 Jan, a Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 19 Jan, and should you live in Paris, a performance there on 22 Jan.

On Monday, our intrepid Digital Content Officer, Zen, will be catching up with Vladimir to interview him in advance of his concerts with us. We want to know your burning questions to put to him, so add them here as comments or over on our Facebook page. We promise to ask a selection of them, and we’ll get the video up before Christmas. You might want to ask about the programme, his career, why he works with the OAE or even why he likes the Moomins…(that will be explained in a forthcoming Speed Interview actually).

The full line up for concerts on 21 and 22 Jan is below, with the pieces included in The Night Shift indicated by a seasonal snow flake (*). (ok, it’s an asterisk…)

Wagner Prelude to Parsifal
Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a wayfarer), with soloist Sarah Connolly.
Mahler Totenfeier*
Liszt Les Preludes*

Last week we travelled to Paris for the final concert of our mini Beethoven tour with Vladimir Jurowski (mini in that it was a short tour, not that we were playing small pieces of music). We were playing in our regular venue in Paris, the Théâtre de Champs Elysées, which we visit at least a couple of times each season. The theatre is interesting for a couple of reasons – firstly, its a beautiful and historic building – and where the Rite of Spring was famously premiered, with ensuing riot. Second, it leads a dual life as both theatre (and opera house) and concert hall. So, while we performed on stage (with a special acoustic shell installed behind the orchestra to help the sound), the set of what appeared to be Cinderella was behind us, complete with giant stilettos.

The concert was being filmed for DVD and web broadcast so the afternoon rehearsal was carried out in concert dress and with the lighting that would be later used for the performance (darker than would be usual), and as you can imagine there were cables almost everywhere. I watched the rehearsal from backstage, where there was a monitor showing what was being filmed.

After the concert there was what is known as a ‘patching session’, where any bits of the performance that perhaps weren’t quite perfect are played again so that the DVD version is as near perfect as possible. Obviously with this being the OAE, the patching session didn’t need to be very long, and everyone was very happy to be on the bus back to the hotel fairly quickly after the concert.

The concert can be viewed online here FREE  for a limited period

William Norris, Marketing Director

As our tour this far has not included much time for sight-seeing, we took the opportunity on Tuesday night after the concert, in the form ofbikes cycling around Paris. In Paris they have a brilliant city bike network system; the city is sprinkled with racks of bikes, for people to hire at any time of day for any amount of time. Our nocturnal cycling team consisted of three flute players; myself, Katy Bircher and Brinley Yare, countered by organist James Johnstone, who possibly has more notes to play in the Matthew Passion than all us flutes put together.

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A rather belated round of pictures from the last couple of dates of our tour with Sir Simon Rattle back in December.
The end of the tour was in Paris and it was obvious to the audience the great bond between Orchestra and conductor that had been strengthened during the tour – I’ve never seen an Orchestra present a conductor with presents on stage! After the concert the Theatre de Champs Elysees very kindly laid on a champagne reception to mark the end of the tour – apologies for the rather dark picture.

Members of the OAE are currently in Minnesota and St Paul, USA. The OAE is one of a number of chamber Orchestras invited there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra. Initially we have travelled out with our office-mates the London Sinfonietta and we’ll be giving two joint performances of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of Wars I have Seen. Then, next week, more members of the OAE travel out to give performances of a Baroque programme with Rachel Podger. Look out for updates here very soon!

Will, Marketing Director

SO – two weeks, six countries, nine cities, fifteen train journeys, five flights, nine coach journeys, one car journey, seven hotels, twelve concerts, twenty four symphonies, thirteen overtures, six Christmas markets, far too many chocolates, undisclosed quantities of beer and wine…and we’re on our way home.
Yesterday in Paris, the day was grey and damp. A huge box of heavenly chocolates greeted us as we stumbled into the murky gloom backstage. This semi darkness is typical of many backstage areas in concert halls all over the world, and at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees there was much entertainment to be had falling over lengthy clumps of cables, negotiating one’s way around scaffolding towers dripping with theatre lights, avoiding unstable stacks of chairs plonked at random in the dark and searching for a surface or floor space on which to place an instrument case. Read the rest of this entry »

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