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It’s that time of year again, the start of a new London season. And that means that it’s also time for our staff picks of the year. Here’s what we’re all looking forward to – some definite themes emerging. Players pics will follow tomorrow!
“I’m really excited about the opening concert this season on 29 September- featuring the ever-excitable and amazing pianist, Robert Levin. After seeing him perform at the Night Shift back in February 2008 (the first concert I worked at as an official member of OAE staff (!)), it’s going to be fabulous seeing him direct another of Mozart’s Piano Concertos- he’s got such a passionate and energetic way of presenting pieces- which always comes across really well on stage, especially in the more informal, relaxed atmosphere of the Night Shift. Can’t wait!!”
Natasha Stehr, Press and Marketing Officer
“It’s the opening concert that is going to do it for me! Weber’s magical Der Freischütz Overture; Mozart’s exhilarating A major Piano Concerto with the incomparable Robert Levin; and Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony which I can never tire of listening to, not just for the attractions of the music but because of the story behind it: Mendelssohn’s journey through Scotland in 1829, aged 20, made so vivid through his sketches and the letters that he wrote about his experiences, and the very specific moment when the opening theme came to him during his visit to the ruined chapel of Holyrood Palace (pictured above)” info/tickets
Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive
“Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet (18 February). I’ve loved Romeo and Juliet as a subject matter ever since yr 9 (age 13) when I spent nearly an entire year of English classes getting to grips with Shakespeare for the first time. I’ve since been fascinated about all the various takes on the story covered by so many art forms and composers from Berlioz to Bernstein (something we’ll look into much more detail at this years study day). I can’t wait to hear Berlioz’s almighty (there are 4 harps!!!) version.” info/tickets
Ceri Jones, Projects Director
“I’m most looking forward to the next Night Shift (29 Sep). After experiencing the format for the first time at the ‘mini’ event last week, I was most struck by how the audience were so uninhibited in their response to the music, the oppressive and weird ‘rules’ of how to view classical music really were thrown out the window. I can’t wait to see if this is maintained on the bigger stage of QEH and to be a part of one of the most forward-thinking classical nights in London.” info/tickets
Toby Perkins, Graduate Intern
“As usual, I’ve struggled to narrow it down to only one! I was tossing up between ‘An Olympic Thread’ (10 Feb) and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (18 Feb), I love the orchestra when it has swelled to the forces needed for a piece like Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, but ‘An Olympic Thread’ has won as I’m also a fan of the OAE in an intimate concert like this. Handel and the OAE were made to go together, so I’m really looking forward to hearing the Handel pieces, but I’m also interested in hearing a new commission, something which fairly rare for us. And I think it will be perfect timing to start getting excited about the Olympics which will be just round there corner.” info/tickets
Megan Russell, Projects Manager
“It is hard to decide which concert I am looking forward to most as there is such a variety this season. Berlioz’s epic Romeo and Juliet conducted by Sir Mark Elder (18 Feb), a new commission by Sally Beamish (10 Feb) and a visit from Mozart impresario Robert Levin (29 Sept, 4 Oct, 3 May) are just a few magical moments which I am sure not to miss. But which is my favourite? After much deliberation I think it is a tie between Bostridge sings Bach (25 April) and French Impressionists (10 June). Ian Bostridge is a personal favourite of mine and I’ve cleared my diary to make sure I am free to experience two of my favourite Bs in one concert; an event which promises to be a sumptuous Baroque feast. For my second choice, we need to fast forward in time to 19th century France. Sir Simon Rattle and Pierre-Laurent Aimard are set to take us on a journey with three French masters, Debussy, Fauré and Ravel. I can’t wait to hear the orchestra interpret this shimmering, decadent music; a real wake up call to anyone who thinks the OAE only play ‘old’ compositions!” info/tickets (Bostridge) info/tickets (Rattle)
Natasha Riordan-Eva, Communications Intern
“So hard to choose! 1700s London & the Fab Four (21 Nov) because Rachel Podger is such a joy to watch, and the two programmes with Brandenburg concertos – Baroque Giants: Bach with Lisa Beznosiuk’s enchanting flute playing (4 March) and Bostridge Sings Bach (25 April) with the captivating Ian Bostridge and the wonderful Steven Devine.” info/tickets (21 Nov) info/tickets (4 March)
Lucy Pilcher, Corporate Relations and Events Administrator
“So, I’m most looking forward to the first and the last of the Southbank concerts, although I will enjoy all in between I’m sure! 29 September is a pick for me because I love Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony. Really excited about 10 June for the French Impressionists concert with Sir Simon Rattle because it is so different, I can’t wait to hear Prelude a l’apres midi d’une faune on period instruments.” tickets/info (29 Sept) tickets/info (10 June)
Ellie Cowan, Education Officer
“As ever, hard to choose. I, like others, will cheat and pick two. First, The Works (4 Oct). This is a totally new venture for us (read about it here), so I’m both excited and nervous about it. Robert Levin is an amazing speaker though, so we will be safe in his hands, and it’s an incredible piece of music too, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23. My second pic is our concert led by violinist Matthew Truscott on 10 February. I’m really excited that we will be playing a brand new piece by Sally Beamish, written for the Olympic year. It’s of course rare for the OAE to play new music, but I think the concept of new music written for old instruments is quite interesting. Definitely worth checking out.” tickets/info (4 Oct) tickets/info (10 Feb).
William Norris, Communications Director