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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!

We’ve just released our very first podcast made specifically around our late night Night Shift series. This first installment includes audience vox pops from the last event, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s reaction as he came off stage after the show, plus presenter Alistair Appleton’s take on the evening. We also look ahead to the event this Saturday with conductor Marin Alsop, and speak to OAE players Debbie Diamond and Sally Jackson about the event and Mozart’s Symphony 40.

The podcast can also be listened to here or seach for ‘Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on itunes. You can find out all about The Night Shift at its website.

‘A vigorous work-out of Haydn symphonies’ is how The Times described OAE’s opening concert of the Southbank 2009-10 season.  At dawn, a couple of days later, the 42 players checked in at Heathrow for a repeat of the all-Haydn programme in Cologne, some still jet-lagged after recent flights from Montreal (Yannick), Sydney (Nancy) and Kathmandu (Jan).  Neal’s flute had disappeared after the London concert, but Lisa has kindly loaned him another instrument until his turns up.

In Cologne Yannick leapt onto the platform of the Philharmonie, sporting a new ‘Nightshift’ T-shirt (what on earth does the pink shrimp-like logo represent?).  Read the rest of this entry »

One of the OAE’s regular ‘homes’ outside of London is St Georges in Bristol. We usually give 3-4 ‘main’ concerts there a season, and often a series of lunchtime chamber music concerts too. However, depite having worked for the OAE for getting on for five years until last week I had never been there! So, I decided to catch the last concert of our mini-tour with Yannick Nézet-Séguin there. It’s a beautiful building – very striking outside, and like St John’s in London it used to be a church. Inside it’s very intimate – and the acoustic is fantastic – very ‘in your face’ but in a good way, and the sound has a nice warm quality to it. being an old building it does have a few drawbacks – including the very creaky floor boards in the balcony. I was up there in the rehearsal being shown around by the Marketing Manager of the venue when we hit a very creaky spot – rather embrasssingly the Orchestra stopped rehearsing and I got a ‘look’ from Yannick followed by general mock stamping of feet from the Orchestra! The performance itself was fantastic – and there was the rare sight backstage of all the players virtually queueing up to say thank you and goodbye to Yannick at the end. An added bonus on the way home was discovering that bars on trains obviously don’t have licensing restructions like pubs and I was able to buy a nice 1/2 bottle of red wine to keep me company on the journey back to London, despite it being after 11!

William Norris, Marketing Director

A few more reviews from our Southbank Centre season opening concert with Yannick Nézet-Séguin

The Times

Classical Source

David Nice blog (scroll down!)

We’ve just had the first few pics back from our Night Shift event last week, which we’ve posted to our new Flickr account. More will be added in the coming days. We’re especially interested to see what is on the disposable cameras we let loose amongst the audience. Lets hope it’s all clean… (pics below by Joe Plommer, showing Orchestra, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and presenter Alistair Appleton)

Last night saw the start of our new season at Southbank centre, with an all Haydn programme coducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin who was making his debut with us. With both a 7pm concert and a 10pm Night Shift it was a long day for both players and staff, I was wearily packing away banners and tealight with fellow staff members at 12.45am…

But it was a real corker of an evening, and the partnership between Orchestra and Conductor seemed to get off to a flying start. We have two more performances of the programme, in Cologne this Sunday, 18 Oct and in Bristol on Tuesday 20 Oct.

We already have a couple of reviews in – the Independent being unusually speedy!

The Independent on the 7pm concert

Artsdesk on the Night Shift

William Norris, Marketing Director

Last night my colleague Ceri Jones and I got glammed up and went along to the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, held at The Dorchester on Park Lane. The RPS awards are known as the classical music ‘oscars’ and there was certainly a star-studded audience there for the dinner and ceremony. Spotted in the crowd were Harrison Birtwistle, Edward Gardner, Yannick Néget-Séguin, Mark Padmore and Sir Charles Mackerras. We were there because the OAE had been shortlisted in the Audience Development category for The Night Shift, the second time The Night Shift has been shortlisted in this category. Sadly, we didn’t win, but we did very well to get through to the last three – the RPS had apparently received over 400 nominations across all the categories, so there was stiff competition. Streetwise Opera was a very exciting and worthy winner, and it was good to see Yannick Néget-Séguin win the Young Artist award – he’ll be conducting us in October. We managed to say hello to him afterwards and he mentioned how much he is looking forward to it.

Hopefully we’ll be back next year and maybe even bring home some silverware!

William Norris, Marketing Director

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