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Youth Chorus Director (Freelance)

Posted on 9 February 2018

Application closing date: 5pm on Wednesday 21st February 2018

Introduction to Sage Gateshead

Founded in 2004, Sage Gateshead has an international reputation as a new centre for music combining performance, education and participation working across a wide range of musical genres and reaching a broad audience. It is also one of the region’s leading conference centres. Founded with a mixed business model, the charity’s turnover of £15million combines, box office, commercial, fundraised income with public subsidy.

Sage Gateshead runs:

  • A Performance Programme of events and festivals across musical genres (folk, classical, rock, indie, jazz, electronic) for 360 days of the year (1700 seater and 600 seater venues)
  • Royal Northern Sinfonia, the UK’s only full time contract chamber orchestra
  • One of the largest Creative Learning Programmes in the UK
  • One of the biggest conference and events businesses in the north
  • A folk development agency, Folkworks
  • An iconic visitor attraction, designed by Foster + Partners on the banks of the Tyne with a large public space, three auditoriums and 25 learning spaces.

In 2015/16 Sage Gateshead delivered:

  • 623 performance events
  • 16,045 courses, classes and workshops
  • 84 conferences
  • 22 premieres and commissions
  • 105 broadcasts

In 2014 Sage Gateshead completed its first decade. During this period the charity had:

  • 6 million visitors
  • 1.5 million participants
  • 1000 conferences
  • 4000 concerts
  • £283 million of economic benefit to the region

Overall purpose of the role

We are looking for an experienced Chorus Director to audition and rehearse a new North East Youth Chorus of 50 young people aged between 16 and 25, to take part in the BBC Youth Prom in 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall.

The repertoire, currently embargoed, includes a world famous choral symphony and a new choral commission, which will receive its world premiere at the Proms 2018. We can provide further information on the repertoire upon request.

The successful candidate will work with Sage Gateshead, North East Music Education Hubs and the BBC to prepare this new choir to take part in the 300 strong national massed choir.

Key Dates:

The audition date for the Youth Chorus Director: Friday 2nd March, 5.15pm in Durham.

Audition and rehearsal dates for the youth choir will be agreed in conjunction with the successful candidate. They will most likely be a mixture of Saturdays in May, June and July.

The successful candidate will be required to attend the national youth prom rehearsals (also at Sage Gateshead) on Tues 17th July – Thurs 19th July.

Fee: £2,500

Responsibilities of the role

  • Direct the music, plan for and lead rehearsals.
  • Liaise efficiently with the Coordinator, regarding all operational elements of the choir.
  • Develop the musical and vocal development of the singers and engage actively in the retention of the singers for the project.
  • Support, motivate and elicit the best efforts of the singers.
  • Bring practical knowledge and understanding of the human voice, as used in choral performance, and the technical and musical challenges.
  • Accept appropriate individual responsibility for the observance, promotion and implementation of Health & Safety, Customer Care, Equality and Diversity,
  • Dignity at Work and other policies of the North Music Trust.

Knowledge, experience and skills required:

Technical and Performance

  • An acute ear for choral intonation, balance, and colour.
  • Mastery of various musical styles and a knowledge of performance traditions.
  • Interpretive skills that enable communication of the emotional content of a wide range of music.
  • Effective conducting technique.
  • Effective and efficient rehearsal technique.

Administrative and Personal

  • Ability and commitment to collaborate with project staff and partners.
  • Openness to the ideas of others and the ability to inspire creativity.
  • Commitment to fulfil the choir’s potential.
  • Willingness to work with the singers’ music teachers and leaders if required
  • Ability to operate within established budgetary limits.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with participants, parents / carers, partners, the public and the press on matters relating to the choir.
  • Have a significant musical talent and a proven ability to provide a performance experience of the highest calibre.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of choral repertoire and styles.
  • Authoritative knowledge and experience of choirs.

How to Apply

To apply, please send

  • Your CV
  • A letter outlining your suitability for the role, your relevant professional experience and your perspective on specialist music training for young people

Adam Kent,
Creative Learning Strategy Lead
Sage Gateshead,
St Mary’s Square,

or by email to


Applications to be received by 5pm on Wednesday 21st of February

We will confirm the shortlisted candidates by 5pm on Friday 23rd of February

Auditions will be held in Durham on Friday 2nd March, 5.15pm