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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 »

Ahead of The Night Shift next week we have a new podcast – in it we speak to violinist Kati Debretzeni about the music in the concert, listen to your views on the last event at Wilton’s Music Hall, find out about the history of the Southbank Centre and lastly talk to band the Silvermoths who support the OAE at the next event. Enjoy!

Last Friday saw The Night Shift (our late-night informal concert series) take place for the very first time at Wilton’s Music Hall. The evening started off with music from Nathan ‘Flutebox’ Lee and guests – as you might glean from his name, he plays the flute and beatboxes at the same time – stunning. At 9 the OAE came onto the stage for a concert of music by Purcell and Handel, led by Matthew Truscott and featuring soprano Anna Dennis, and the evening was capped off with a DJ set from Nick Luscombe. Wilton’s was packed to the rafters with a very appreciative crowd, and the Orchestra sounded fantastic in the acoustic of Wilton’s. We hope to return!

Our resident Night Shift photographer Joe Plommer was there to capture the evening. Here is a selection, and the full set can be viewed on our Flickr page.

I can’t say I expected to have been to 3 such brilliant concerts within my first month as the OAE intern. The highlight of my first week here was trotting off to Glyndebourne to see how everything works backstage from the orchestra’s point of view. I had duly prepared myself by watching the recent BBC series about Gareth Malone putting together a youth choir for the Knight Crew opera, so I at least had an idea what it was all about. I had heard of Glin-de-born back in New Zealand (I purposely waited in my intern interview for Ceri and Megan to say it first) and knew it as one of the top opera places in the world, but didn’t realise it was in the country-side and in such a beautiful setting. Fortunately I was ushered into a free seat behind a tv camera about 10 seconds before it began and was able to watch the show. Read the rest of this entry »

Ahead of our Night Shift event this Friday at Wilton’s Music Hall we caught up with our Principal Double Bassist Chi-chi who is playing in the Image: Harrison / Eric Richmondconcert.

What do you fear the most?

Going blind or deaf…in that order

Which mobile number do you call the most?

My children’s.

What – or where – is perfection?

I’ve no idea

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

Roald Dahl’s Maitilda Wormwood, for her unassuming and magical powers and ways of making the best out of awful situations.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and Martina Navratilova… there are too many reasons and not enough time to write them down.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?

I’d love to be good at Languages, Maths, Lateral thinking, and … still thinking…

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Don’t rush it.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?

‘Now and Again’ by Jake Hugh.

What’s the best thing about playing with the OAE?

The variety of repertoire and conductors.

Should the classical music world work harder to attract a wider audience?

Yes.

Sum up ‘The Night Shift’ in one word.

Buzzy.

Why should people come to the Night Shift at Wilton’s Music Hall?

Because you can enjoy the music in a more relaxed and off the beaten track crib.

Ahead of our special summer event at Wilton’s this Friday (the 13th) we’ve just released this new podcast which looks forward to the event. In it, we find out about the history of the venue – and why the can-can was banned, chat with OAE leader and violinist Matthew Truscott (who was in a rather windy Glyndebourne) about the music and get your reactions to the last event back in May. Find out more about The Night Shift and how to buy tickets at its special website. This podcast also features our Pod Idol winner Raul – making his debut as the voice of the pod.

As promised, here are a selection of pictures of Wilton’s Music Hall, where we perform a Night Shift on 13 August.

The other week we were preparing a press release about our forthcoming Night Shift at Wilton’s Music Hall, and we asked OAE leader and

Matthew Truscott (pic: Joe Plommer)

director of this performance, Matthew Truscott for a quote to go on the release. We really loved his description of the venue so thought we’d share it with you here. We’ll post some pics of the venue  here tomorrow.

“Wilton’s is a wonderful and lavishly evocative venue where the walls are imbued with the sweat and cheers of generations of Londoners. It’s perfect for The Night Shift and especially for this one where we’ll be playing music written for a London audience. Handel composed his magnificent set of Concerti Grossi down the road on Brook Street and Purcell’s Fairy Queen has in it some of England’s most vivid and sensual theatre music”

When us OAE office workers think about the summer we often associate it with the word ‘quiet’. That’s not because we’re putting our feet up

This is what we're NOT doing in the office this summer

This is what we're NOT doing in the office this summer

and drinking champagne (often) but because usually, our London concerts stop for a bit.

As you may know, our main season of concerts in London runs from October through to May, and the summer period is usually a bit different – the Orchestra is down in Glyndebourne for much of the time and while we do some touring it’s generally less intensive than during the rest of the year.

So for the office team this often gives us a chance to recover, regroup and do some long-range planning. Not so this year. Because unsually, we’re doing several events in London. We have the Proms, which is normal, but we’ve also just announced a special summer Night Shift. We’ve wanted to do a summer event in the Night Shift series for a while, as it’s such a long gap between events otherwise. And we’re thrilled (understatement) that it’s going to be at Wilton’s Music Hall. When Ceri, our Projects Director, and I looked at it a month or so back we knew instantly it would be perfect, and we were over the moon (there were whoops in the office) when it was all confirmed.

What we don't have time to follow this summer...

What we don't have time to follow this summer...

The event goes on sale tomorrow, at noon, and all the info is on the website. Tomorrow we’ll also post up some pics of Wilton’s and announce a second special summer event…

William Norris, Marketing Director

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