What makes us ‘Alternative’?
OAO’s two goals render it distinct among the city’s orchestras: first, it aims to break classical music out of the concert hall and forge a vibrant dialogue with the city of Oxford, and second, it guides intriguing, under-represented classical forms back into the concert hall. Since its formation in 2016, OAO has performed in refugee detention centres, homeless shelters, hospitals, and has also performed free concerts in traditional venues to encourage accessibility. Profits from concerts are donated to charity.
In addition to standard repertoire, OAO focuses on bringing to life contemporary repertoire of edgy composers such as Einojuani Rautavaara, Steve Reich, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Rodion Shchedrin.
OAO frequently partners with The People’s Opera to make fully staged operas more accessible to the general public by keeping ticket costs low and creating engaging production concepts.
The orchestra was founded in 2016 and is generously supported by St John’s College, Oxford, in addition to private donations. It is directed by conductor Hannah Schneider.