Enlightening the internet

London ensemble Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is to stream its concerts for the first time. Purcell and pork scratchings will go out live on YouTube from The Old Queen’s Head in Islington on 26 July, with monthly concerts continuing from August at The George Tavern in Shadwell, The Old Queen’s Head, and the Bussey Building in Peckham on the last Tuesday of every month.

OAE has a prestigious residency at London’s Southbank Centre, but it will add to its offerings by live streaming the likes of Telemann and Bach from alternative venues as part of The Night Shift series of events, which take classical music out of the concert hall and makes chamber concerts more sociable. After the pub concerts, players chat to the audience, and will take questions from YouTube viewers from Sidney to Sidcup live from the bar, keeping everything personal, ‘unlike a big concert hall stream’.

Crispin Woodhead, CEO of OAE said: ‘We hope The Night Shift will become the Boiler Room of Baroque music. In their case a video of a DJ performing to a crowd attracts millions of viewers, at The Night Shift it’s a few outstanding musicians performing on 17th century instruments in a pub. We’re really excited that from a small pub in Islington everyone around the world can now experience these intimate and special gigs.’

The first concert will feature a 17th century recorder in the hands of instrumentalist Van Eyck. ‘We’ll be covering over a hundred years of music in the space of two half hour sets. We mix well-known composers – Handel and Purcell – with the lesser known like Corelli and Gabrielli, early guys who set the Baroque ball rolling. There are also many fascinating back stories that we’ll share on the night,’ said Maggie Faultless, leader of OAE.

The OAE puts its pub gigs on par with its performances at esteemed venues such as the Proms, Glyndebourne, New York’s Lincoln Center and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

‘Chamber music was written to be played in domestic settings not to a hushed, seated and reverential audience,’ added Faultless. ‘I’ve never experienced anything like the way people listen down the pub. It is easily as powerful as the notes we are playing – it’s social – created by the people in the room – they are performing their listening on us as we are performing the music on them.’

The first broadcast on 26 July will go out on YouTube at 8.30pm GMT+1 and last approximately 90 minutes (including an interval).

Tune in to watch the concert here.