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Performer: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Biography

Just under three decades ago, a group of inquisitive London musicians took a long hard look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born.

And as this distinctive ensemble playing on period-specific instruments began to get a foothold, it made a promise to itself. It vowed to keep questioning and inventing as long as it lived. Residencies at the Southbank Centre and the Glyndebourne Festival didn’t numb its experimentalist bent. A major record deal didn’t iron out its quirks. Instead, the OAE examined musical notes with ever more freedom and resolve.

That creative thirst remains unquenched. Informal night-time performances are redefining concert formats. Searching approaches to varied repertoire see the OAE working frequently with symphony and opera orchestras. New generations of exploratory musicians are encouraged into its ranks. Great performances now become recordings on the orchestra’s own CD label. It thrives internationally: New York and Amsterdam court it; Oxford and Bristol cherish it.

In its 30th year, the OAE is part of our musical furniture. It has even graced the outstanding conducting talents of Elder, Rattle, Jurowski and Fischer with a joint title. But don’t ever think the ensemble has lost sight of its founding vow. Not all orchestras are the same. And there’s nothing quite like this one.


Visit the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment website for more information.

Upcoming eventsSee more...

LondonOrchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – How to Leave the Planet

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – How to Leave the Planet
Bach: Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim? - Cantata, BWV89
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Rowan Pierce; Ciara Hendrick; James Newby

LondonApollo and Daphne

Apollo and Daphne
Handel, Manfredini
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Jonathan Cohen; Katherine Watson; James Newby; Choir of the Age of Enlightenment

BasingstokeOrchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Vaughan Williams, Brahms
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Marin Alsop; Elizabeth Watts; James Newby; Choir of the Age of Enlightenment

LondonBrahms: A German Requiem

© Adriane White
Vaughan Williams, Brahms
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Marin Alsop; Elizabeth Watts; James Newby; Choir of the Age of Enlightenment

LondonOrchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Worlds Beyond

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – Worlds Beyond
Bach: Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir - Cantata, BWV73
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Charlotte Beament; Nick Pritchard; James Newby
Latest reviewsSee more...

Everybody loves David: Handel’s Saul at Glyndebourne

Karina Gauvin (Merab), Anna Devin (Michal), Iestyn Davies (David) and Allan Clayton (Jonathan) © Bill Cooper
Barrie Kosky's punchy, visually exhilarating take on Saul, with Iestyn Davies as a sublime David, makes for a powerful evening of drama at Glyndebourne.
****1
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Fine fare to close the OAE season

Sir András Schiff © Nadia F Romanini
Sir András Schiff and the OAE serve up three delectable dishes created by the irrespressible and inimitable Papa Haydn.
****1
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Carry on Cleo: Joélle Harvey triumphs at Glyndebourne

Sarah Connolly (Giulio Cesare) and Joélle Harvey (Cleopatra) © Bill Cooper
Interviewed at the time of this production's first outing, McVicar declared that “Entertainment is not a dirty word”. His Giulio Cesare remains a hugely entertaining opera production.
****1
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Strauss on screen: the OAE presents Rosenkavalier

Charlotte Beament © Boyd Gilmour
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment resurrected with 1926 silent film of Strauss' Viennese comedy – with the lost ending pieced together – and gave a commendable performance of the reduced score.
***11
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Dr Norrington's marvellous Mozart at the QEH

Sir Roger Norrington conducts the OAE © Belinda Lawley
Sir Roger Norrington's all-Mozart feast was a joyous evening dedicated solely to playing as the composer and his audience would have recognised it. His affable introduction and the OAE's superb playing made a splendid evening.
****1
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