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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Baroque Orchestra)

Founded: 1986

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (= OAE) is named after the historical period in the late 18th century from which it takes the core of its repertoire. The Orchestra was formed by leading period-instrument players and invites distinguished international musicians to be guest conductors.

The OAE's position in the mainstream of British music-making was confirmed in the Autumn of 1992 when Frans Brüggen and Sir Simon Rattle agreed to become its principal guest conductors and the OAE was invited to become 'Associate Orchestra' at the South Bank Centre in London.

Since its highly acclaimed debut in 1986, the OAE has performed works by composers as wide ranging as Purcell and J.S. Bach, Haydn and W.A. Mozart, Johannes Brahms and Wagner. Conductors have included both period instrument specialists - Frans Brüggen, Ton Koopman and Gustav Leonhardt - as well as major personalities from the modern orchestral world including Mark Elder, Andrew Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, Iván Fischer, Heinrich Schiff and Paavo Järvi.

Highlights of the OAE's early performances include Idomeneo with Simon Rattle (1987); regular appearances at the Glyndebourne Festival; the Haydn Series (1989) and the 'Bach the colourful dramatist' series (1992). In 1991, the OAE celebrated 'Mozart Year' with appearances at the Salzburg Festival and in the South Bank Centre's 'Mozart Now'. As its contribution to the Rossini bi-centenary celebration in 1992, the OAE gave the UK premiere of his opera seria Ermione. One of the highlights of the 1993-1994 season was the Orchestra's European tour conducted by Simon Rattle. 1994 also mared the OAE's debut at the Edinburgh Festival with two concerts of L.v. Beethoven symphonies under Sir Charles Mackerras.

1995 also saw the beginning of the OAE's new residency at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, in Bristol, in association with BBC Radio 3 FM. The 1995-1996 season marks the OAE's 10th Anniversary. Highlights have included performances of Cosi fan Tutte under Sir Simon Rattle (with a subsequent recording for EMI), Paavo Järvi's first appearance with the OAE in a programme of 19th century music and concerts of Baroque music with Gustav Leonhardt and Christophe Rousset. Simon Rattle returned to conduct the OAE in July 1996 in a performance of Haydn's The Creation. In the summer of 1996, the OAE made its debut at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in a performance of Verdi's Alzira under Mark Elder and returned to the Edinburgh Festival with a performance of Elijah conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. The 1996-1997 season included concerts with Frans Brüggen, Iván Fischer, Roger Norrington, Nicholas McGegan, Paavo Järvi and Bruno Weil, as well as a major European tour with Sir Simon Rattle.

Last season (2000-2001?) consolidated the OAE's reputation for playing 19th century opera on period instruments with highly acclaimed performances of Weber's Euryanthe and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra both under Mark Elder.

The OAE's education programme has developed enthusiastically since it was started in 1994, and helps bring period- instrument performances to a wider audience. Players from the OAE take part in projects in local primary and secondary schools, introducing children to music from South Bank concert programmes.

Members of Choir of the Enlightenment:





Charlotte Ashley
Charlotte Beament
Emma Brain-Gabbott
Zoë Brookshaw (Brown)
Amy Carson
Ruth Dean
Rachel Elliott
Susan Hemington Jones
Rachel Platt
Gillian Ross

Ruth Gibbins
Brian Gordon
Rory McCleery
Peter Nardone
Richard Wyn Roberts

Andrew Carwood
David Lowe
Tom Phillips
Paul Sutton

Neil Bellingham
Simon Birchall
Michael Bundy
Michael Craddock
Christopher Foster
David Stuart
Lawrence Wallington

Source: Sony Classical Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Harry Christophers


Arias from BWV 244, BWV 508 [w Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas]

Stephen Layton


BWV 245
V-5 (2011):
BWV 248/1-6 [1st recording]
V-3 (2013):
BWV 248/1-6 [2nd recording]

Gustav Leonhardt


BWV 11, BWV 173a, BWV 201, BWV 205, BWV 208, BWV 211, BWV 213, BWV 214, BWV 215, BWV 249

Nigel Short


Arias from BWV 51, BWV 68, BWV 205, BWV 243, BWV 245, BWV 508

Elizabeth Wallfisch & Anthony Robson


Sinfonias from BWV 12, BWV 21

Recordings of Bach’s Instrumental Works




Alison Bury


Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1048

Monica Huggett


Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1047, BWV 1049, BWV 1051

Catherine Mackintosh


Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1050

Elizabeth Wallfisch


Violin Concertos BWV 1041, BWV 1042, BWV 1043, BWV 1064R
Triple Concerto BWV 1044
Brandenburg Concertos
BWV 1046-1051
Violin & Oboe Concertos BWV 1052R, BWV 1055R, BWV 1056R, BWV 1060R
Oboe Concertos BWV 1053R, 1059R

Links to other Sites

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Official Website)
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Classical Music UK)
Sony Classical Artist: Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Wednesday, September 06, 2017 22:13