The Enlightenment saw orthodoxies challenged and the emergence of radical ideas throughout the latter half of the 18th century. That period also experienced the creation of new, marvellous music which was the inspiration for the creation of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The OAE is touring Australia for Musica Viva, November 9 to 21. Musica Viva was there at the beginning of the chamber orchestra ‘boom’ at the start of the 70s, presenting Neville Marriner & The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields twice with exceptional success. In the following years, Musica Viva also presented Karl Munchinger’s Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Concentus Musicus Vienna, as well as importantly sponsoring the formation of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. It is especially apt now MV is presenting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on its first full tour of Australia to all mainland capitals. On this tour, the OAE is led by Rachel Podger, described by the Sunday Times as ‘the queen of the baroque violin’, in a no-gimmicks program of significant works by Haydn, Mozart and Bach.
As befits its Enlightenment title, the OAE established itself 30 years ago on unorthodox grounds. Without a single conductor or director, it is managed democratically by the orchestra members. It has been led by some of Europe’s most distinguished musicians; indeed five of them share the title Principal Artist. This is a unique, seriously good orchestra.
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