Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment - NOSPR
Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment
In 1986, 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.
Since then, the OAE has shocked, changed and mesmerised the music world. Residencies at Acland Burghley School, the Southbank Centre and Glyndebourne haven’t numbed its experimentalist bent. Record deals haven’t ironed out its quirks. Period-specific instruments have become just one element of its quest for authenticity.
Today the OAE is cherished more than ever. It still pushes for change, and still stands for excellence, diversity and exploration. More than thirty years on, there’s still no orchestra in the world quite like it.
The Choir of the Age of Enlightenment is a group of professional singers, many of whom are soloists in their own right. Originally the choir had appeared exclusively with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – at British and European festivals, as well as regularly as part of their concert series at London’s Southbank Centre. However 2016 saw the choir performing their first unaccompanied concerts, without the OAE by their side.
The Choir has taken part in many of the OAE’s recordings over the years, including Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Bach’s Cantatas with Gustav Leonhardt, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte with Sir Simon Rattle. It has also appeared frequently on radio and television with the Orchestra, perhaps most memorably in July 2000 when the Choir and Orchestra performed Bach’s Mass in B minor at the BBC Proms on the 250th anniversary of his death.
During recent seasons the Choir of the Age of Enlightenment has performed with the Orchestra in the UK and further afield, working on a wide range of repertoire with conductors such as Richard Egarr, Emmanuelle Haim, John Butt, Sir Roger Norrington and Sir Mark Elder. In 2013 the Choir performed the Ein deutsches Requiem by Brahms at the BBC Proms with Marin Alsop and the OAE.