The OAE explores Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ is the second part of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s ‘Six Chapters of Enlightenment’ – six seasons at Southbank exploring through music the golden age of science and philosophy that gave the Orchestra its name.
Roger Montgomery, OAE Principal Horn and co-curator says: “We focus on a pillar of the Enlightenment – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and celebrate our theme by telling stories with the music we play. We look at the birth of nations with Sibelius, Symphony No.2, in OAE’s first exploration of the composer (31 May 2019); human rights in a satire on the right to a fair trial with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury – the work’s first period performance and a radical departure for the OAE into musical comedy (18 April 2019); and the importance of personal freedom in the story of Apollo and Daphne (25 October 2018).”
Another highlight is the first UK performance of OAE Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle’s and Peter Sellars’ acclaimed staging of Bach’s St John Passion – the most famous story of liberty and life taken away.
Crispin Woodhead, OAE Chief Executive and co-curator says: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at the very heart of the self-governing OAE where players set the artistic agenda. The orchestra’s name reflects its pioneering spirit and energy, digging deep into historical research to make old music new on period instruments, and throwing out the rules to explore surprising works, or present the music in a fresh way.”
There’s a strong focus on Romantic repertoire - which embodies Enlightenment values and what the OAE represents as much as Baroque music - including Brahms’ Requiem conducted by Marin Alsop to mark Armistice Day (11 Nov 2018); Strauss’ Violin Concerto (31 May); and Schumann’s Konzertstück (18 March).
Other outstanding musicians joining the orchestra include OAE Principal Artists Vladimir Jurowski (31 May 2019) and John Butt (6 December 2018); and Sir András Schiff (18 & 19 March 2019); conductor Giovanni Antonini (4 February 2019); mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená (4 February & 2 April 2019); and baritone Roderick Williams, (2 April 2019).