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1st Week MT23 Newsletter Interview - Hannah von Wiehler

Each week, the OUMS newsletter features an interview with someone who positively contributes to the Oxford music scene. This week, we sat down with conductor Hannah von Wiehler to ask her about Orchestra VOX!


Hannah von Wiehler (she/her)

Conductor and Founder of Orchestra VOX


Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m a conductor now based in France, but freelance globally now, from Chile to China. I did my MST and DPhil at Oxford from 2016-2021, which is how I got involved in the wonderful scene of Oxford music.


What prompted you to found Orchestra VOX?

I realized we need to change orchestral music from the inside out: when I arrived at Oxford, there was a lot of great music, but mostly very traditional. I founded VOX (then Oxford Alternative Orchestra) to shake things up. Our two priorities are to break boundaries between the community and the concert hall, and to create imaginative programming that speaks to our generation.

Since 2016, we’ve done these things: we’ve played everywhere from hospitals to prisons to refugee camps; we’ve also disrupted traditional programming by featuring underrepresented composers and favoring story-telling.


Coming up on October 10, We also have an outreach concert/workshop event with Oxford’s homeless population. Any musician who want to join should contact me!


Tell us about ‘Ophelia: in her own words’

This is an experiment in shaking up traditional performance format (and content)! In this performance, I’ve written a script that weaves together scenes from Shakespeare’sHamlet with music by Prokofiev and Abrahamsen to tell the story from Ophelia’s perspective. When people talk about this character, they often do so in the context of men: she’s talked about as a pawn. But in fact, she is a vibrant character full of agency, so much so that many composers have chosen to compose music for her! You’ll hear some of that music on the 14th, and hopefully we change your mind about her.


What is your favourite part about being a musician?

Searching for beauty and connection in a world full of pain.


Give us a music recommendation (could be absolutely anything….!)

Rodion Shchedrin’s ‘Suite from the Little Humpbacked Horse’: fantastic and little-known late Soviet music (and the subject of my DPhil!).




More information about Orchestra VOX, including tickets, can be found here.


To find out more about the OUMS newsletter and our interviews, email Christopher at secretary@oums.co.uk.

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