OAE SPEED INTERVIEW: HANNAH CONWAY

Hannah Conway will be presenting the first The Works concert of the 2012-2013 Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment season on 6 November at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.  The OAE chatted to her in their latest speed interview…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
I’m not sure I ever had one! I have had wonderful opportunities with many fantastic orchestras and opera houses. I suppose my first job, working for two years with the London Symphony Orchestra was instrumental in launching me into the business.

What do you fear the most?
The crazy speed of life – and not being able to slow down.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My husband’s!

What – or where – is perfection?
Any empty beach on the north Norfolk coast.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Definitely Wonderwoman! I love the boots, the spin and the gold bangles.

What’s your favourite ritual?
A hot bath after a long commute.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
I admire many people in my life, but mostly – friends and family who I see giving huge amounts to others.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I would love to be able to draw or paint really brilliantly – I am still at the ‘stick man’ phase!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Ah ha! There are so many aren’t there! – A good work-life balance is invaluable.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
A real mixture always depending on my work – at the moment it is a Tinie Tempah track for a gig that I am conducting at the O2 Arena and also Steve Reich’s Desert Music for an LSO composition project. I don’t listen to much music outside of work. I need my silence!

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
The musicians are such lovely, vibrant people who are constantly curious about life and passionate about music.

Hannah Conway presents the Orchestra of the Age of Enligtenment with a programme of Mozart on Tuesday 6 November at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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£6 tickets for BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA’s EXSTATICA

The BBC Concert Orchestra runs the gamut from torment to joy with Exstatica on Monday 19 November at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The programme features the maxed-out minimalism of  composer Michael Torke‘s ‘Ecstatic Orange’ and Arnold Schoenberg‘s ‘Transfigured Night’, inspired by Richard Dehmel’s poem where star-crossed lovers experience a moment of incandescent bliss.

Soprano Marie Angel joins the BBC Concert Orchestra to perform Michael Nyman‘s lustful songs ‘I Sonetti Lussuriosi’, which are set to the pornographic poems of Pietro Aretino. Despite being in Italian, their sexually explicit lyrics ensured the CD release wore the ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker more associated with gangsta rap.

Physical and intellectual ecstasy are all wrapped up in a special version of the Pet Shop Boys’ classic dance hit ‘I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing’, where Neil Tennant expressed the immortal desire to ‘take all my clothes off and dance to the Rite of Spring.’

This event contains sexually explicit material and is suitable for audiences aged 18+

£6 tickets available using the offer code FRIENDS

Input the offer code on the event page below before purchasing tickets

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Video – classical sitarist Alif Laila

See Alif Laila perform as part of Milapfest’s Undiscovered India series at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thursday 29 November. Get tickets here. 

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s “The Works” series

The Works is a unique concert series for London, hosted by one of our resident orchestras, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The series gives you the low-down on selected masterpieces in a friendly and informal environment. Here the audience from the last The Works event tell us what they thought of the night.


The next The Works event is coming up on 6 November at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. During the event the OAE will take a demystifying look at Mozart’s Symphony No.36, Linz and Horn Concerto No.4 with orchestra leader, Margaret Faultless. You’ll be taken on a step by step guide to the pieces, before Margaret and the OAE Principal Horn player, Roger Montgomery, put the music through its paces.

There is also a chance to meet musicians from the Orchestra in the bar afterwards, where the audience can ask questions in a relaxed  setting.

To book tickets or find out more about the next The Works event in the series, head to http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/music/classical/tickets/the-works-63775

GETTING TO KNOW JOSIE D’ARBY – PRESENTER OF CHOIR OF THE YEAR 2012

With just a few days left to go until the Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final at Royal Festival Hall, we caught up with show’s presenter Josie d’Arby ahead of the big day.

You’re going to be presenting at the Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final this Sunday. What are you most looking forward to about the concert?
This is my fourth time presenting on this competition and I think the thing that always impresses me the most is the that the competition always brings out the best in these already excellent choirs. They seem to thrive on the pressure and no matter how well they’ve sung in the heats, something about the final brings out even more. It makes it a joy for the music lover but also a thrilling competition.

Can you tell us anything about the music we can expect to hear being performed?
Let’s just say the ladies are very well represented this year and everyone has gone for a repertoire which will both challenge them and entertain the audience. Should be a gorgeous afternoon.

Have you ever performed as part of a choir / a musical ensemble
I have , I have been in church choirs and I was also part of the choir at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for three years, so I know very well how wonderful it feels to sing as part of an ensemble and how you all lean on each other. And when you get it right: it’s magical.

Did you find performing as part of an ensemble to be particularly rewarding experience?
Incredibly rewarding , being part of any team has its own unique specialness, the friendships forged and of course it’s a lovely social activity but above all playing your part in the whole, is the essence of what teamwork is about and a lovely thing to experience

What other talents or skills would you like to possess?
Haha, I’m something of a jack of all trades and put a lot of effort into a lot of different things – still I would like to be a better singer. I used to sing a lot, it used to be my main thing but I haven’t sung in such a long time that my instrument is somewhat rusty and that muscle very weak. Still I get a thrill listening to others who have honed their craft.

Is there a piece of music you would pick out as one of the ‘best’ works ever written?
For a music lover such as myself that is an impossible question. To narrow it down, In terms of choral music, I would say I like the classics, like Handel’s Messiah , it’s so stirring but equally a good gospel choir can send chills down your spine. When the music and the meaning come together wonderful things can happen for the listener.

And is there a work that is for you, emotionally, especially important?
Again so many , when I listen to music I really open myself up and allow it to have the desired effect on me, there are so many pieces that bring to the fore so many wonderful emotions, again it would be impossible to narrow it down. I have a soft spot for strings though, in all their forms….

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
These questions are so hard, my taste is so eclectic but Nina Simone would be there, Van Morrison, Berlin philharmonic Andre Rieu and Yanna.

What is the most played piece of music on your mp3 player or in your CD collection?
Possibly ‘ a love before time’ from the ‘crouching tiger hidden dragon’ soundtrack a lovely song called ‘the promise’ by Yanna and Gold by spandau ballet – random I know.

Do you have any strange rituals you carry out before appearing on stage?
I like to say a little prayer and give thanks for the opportunity to once again do something I enjoy so much

@josiedarby
josiedarby.com

Limited tickets are still available for the Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final.
CLICK HERE to buy yours!
To find out more about the competition, you can visit: www.choiroftheyear.co.uk

Watch Francesco Piemontesi performing at the BBC Music Magazine Awards

Pianist Francesco Piemontesi has garnered a string of accolades that mark him out as a rising star, including his recent BBC Music Magazine Award, presented to him by Alfred Brendel.

“It is most gratifying that in a time when some careers are made with the excessive help of promotion, there is a young pianist with real talent, a pianist of natural poise and grace, of wonderful technical equipment, and of the ability to remind us what beautiful playing means: cantabile playing that is colourful, luminous and harmonious, without in the least lacking tension and atmosphere. I congratulate Francesco Piemontesi very warmly and wish him a wonderful future, and I congratulate the producer for the lovely sound on the record.” Alfred Brendel, speaking at the award ceremony at Kings Place in April.

Watch the award ceremony in full, or jump to 10’29 to watch Francesco Piemontesi performing live at the event:

Francesco Piemontesi makes his International Piano Series debut on Wednesday 7 November, 7.30pm at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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Listen to the International Piano Series podcast with pianist Christian Blackshaw

Christian Blackshaw talks in depth about his love of Schumann and Schubert, ahead of his Queen Elizabeth Hall recital next year as part of the International Piano Series.

 

You can hear Christian Blackshaw perform on 26 February 2013, 7.30pm at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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