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We have a brand new podcast just out – in a jam-packed edition we talk to OAE Leader Alison Bury about our upcoming A celebration of Handel concert, take the train down to Glyndebourne to get Principal Oboe Anthony Robson’s top CD picks and then come back to London to find out what a day in the life of an Orchestra Chief Executive is like, when we talk to OAE boss Stephen Carpenter. Lastly, with our 25th Anniversary approaching in June, Helen Wallace (who wrote our 21st anniversary book, Spirit of the Orchestra) talks about the origins and history of the OAE. Happy listening!

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As mentioned below, our concert in Sheffield last week had a rather odd start.

The Orchestra came on stage on time for a 7pm start, all fine. We settled in our seats. The Management team of 3 (myself, CEO Stephen Carpenter and Projects Director Ceri) were all split up in the hall, rather than sitting together as we supposed to. As usual there was that moment when the Orchestra stops tuning and the crowd goes suddenly quiet, waiting for the conductor to appear. Except that he didn’t.

5 minutes later he still hadn’t. Rather odd. The crowd was getting restless.

After a little longer Orchestra Leader Matthew Truscott got up (to applause) and left the stage, presumably to find out what was happening.

He didn’t return.

At this point I texted Ceri, asking if she knew what was up. She didn’t. I suggested that conductor David Zinman was either unwell or had got the start time wrong. Both seemed a little unlikely. Unfortunately I made a typo and said “Either I’ll or has got the…”. So I re-sent the world ‘ill’ on its own. Ceri took this as confirmation that he was indeed ill and I apparently set her mind immediately racing as to what we would do! Read the rest of this entry »

With the end of another year just passed, we took the chance to ask members of the office team about their top OAE moments of 2009:

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive
“In August and September 2009, as part of the OAE’s year-long homage to Haydn in his bi-centenary year, we visited the composer’s two P(a)laces of Employment: Esterhaza in Hungary and Eisenstadt in Austria.  On a swelteringly hot day in Esterhaza we performed an all-Haydn programme in the same room in which most of Haydn’s symphonies were premiered.  We had a guided tour of the Esterhazy Palace and saw the room where the Empress Maria-Theresa stayed, and performed “her” symphony (No 48 in C) later the same evening.  In the front row of the audience sat Prince Paul Esterhazy, a direct descendant of Haydn’s Patron, Prince Nicholas Esterhazy.  A real connection with a golden period in music history.  It doesn’t get much better than that!”

Clare Norburn, Development Manager
The Haydn programme with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and especially the ambience in The Night Shift that night – it was electric!

On a personal note: the moment when I opened the envelope to find we had raised £100,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for the development of The Night Shift over 3 years

Natasha Stehr, Marketing and Press Officer
My 2009 highlights: becoming part of our office’s Running Club and actually sticking with it- OAE marathon next year?!  We had so many great concerts this year, it’s hard to pick one as my favourite, but if I had to choose it would have to be Marin Alsop and the OAE playing Charles Ives’ Unanswered Question as part of our Deconstructing Mozart event on the 5 Dec…a once in a lifetime moment!

Ceri Jones, Projects Manager
An office one
“the first outing for the Kings Place running club back in April.  Little did I know it would be met with so much enthusiasm, and that 8 months later a small clique would still be up and running (not sure what I can say about those that have given up, but at least they showed some initial enthusiasm and perhaps they will be tempted again in the New Year…)

A tour-related but not musical one
Having fun experiencing American mid-west culture and the most extreme cold in my life with the OAE & London Sinfonietta in Minneapolis back in January.

An actual musical one
The Creation before Christmas.  Managed to blag a seat in the auditorium rather than marching around backstage, and was blown away by the sheer volume of the orchestra and choir in that ‘let there be light’ bit!  It will stay with me for a while…

& Not so top moments
Getting up at 4am to get home from Berlin on Good Friday – way less than 24hrs after leaving London the previous day.  Ouch.

The snow day in Feb last year.  Sitting at my desk helplessly trying to get an orchestra and choir to the canary islands whilst others in the world were skiving off work ‘unable to get to work and playing in the snow 

Megan Russell, Projects Manager
I’m not sure if it my absolute ‘top moment’ artistically speaking, but a very memorable moment was when the Glyndebourne stage was suddenly filled with members of the Fairy Queen cast dressed as bright pink cartoon-esque bunny rabbits energetically acting out what bunny rabbits get up to in the spring time… I couldn’t quite believe my eyes!

Do you have any memorable OAE moments of 2009? Feel free to comment here!

Last Tuesday the OAE office resounded to the sounds of a drill and much shouting, often along the lines of ‘no, I told you it wouldn’t go there’, or ‘It says part A should slot into part C, but I can’t find part C!’. The reason was the assembly of our new table football table, a shared purchase with the London Sinfonietta, ready in time for our joint Christmas party the next day. After much driling, shouting and a couple of hours, Michael and Megan suceeded in putting the table up, and the table was immediately in use for a grudge match between the Chief Executives of each organisation! See below, Andrew Burke of London Sinfonietta (left) and Stephen Carpenter from the OAE.

So we decided to dip our toes into the world of podcasts with this trial one, during which you can find out more about the music featured in our concerts with Robin Ticciati next week (20 May at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and 23 May in St George’s Bristol). Let us know what you think!

OAE Podcast No.1

If you are so moved as to book tickets for the concerts you can do so here for London and here for Bristol.

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