Skip to main content

Sage Gateshead



Posted on 29 May 2020


Sage Gateshead has announced the appointment of Conductor Timothy Burke as the new Chorus Director, Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia. Timothy Burke takes over from Hugh Brunt and has already started working with the Chorus, preparing rehearsal videos to keep the Chorus singing during the lockdown months, until a time that they can be united in the flesh.

Born in Kingston-Upon-Thames, British conductor Timothy Burke is an exciting talent amongst the younger generation of conductors, gaining a reputation for expressive and vivid interpretations across a wide range of repertoire.

He learned violin and piano from an early age, sang as a Choral Scholar at HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, and read Music at Exeter College, Oxford, before training as a repetiteur at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and winning the Sir Henry Richardson Scholarship to study at the National Opera Studio. He went on to join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House before working as Chorus Master at Opera North. A passionate believer in the importance of new writing, he has, since 2013, been the Music Director at Tête à Tête, producer of the world’s largest festival of new opera, where he has premièred eleven new commissions, including Kerry Andrew’s Dart’s Love, winner of the Stage Works category of the British Composer Awards 2014.

Timothy is no stranger to Royal Northern Sinfonia: previous engagements have included conducting Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Summer Prom in 2017, a concert as part of the popular RNS Minimal @ Wylam series and most recently conducting Walton’s Façade as part of ‘Small is Beautiful’ at Sage Gateshead. Timothy has previously worked with the Chorus as a guest, preparing them for performances of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’, and Haydn’s ‘The Creation’. Timothy Burke said: “I’m delighted to be appointed as Chorus Director. Having worked with them as a guest on a number of occasions in recent years, I have enjoyed our musical collaborations immensely. I can’t wait to build on this and create some great music together, hopefully in person before too long.”

Thorben Dittes, Director, Royal Northern Sinfonia & Classical Programme added: “We are very pleased to have found such an experienced and inspiring choral conductor for the position of RNS Chorus Director, who is based in the region. During this uncertain period Sage Gateshead remains committed more than ever to stay connected with both music lovers and amateur musicians, and we’re looking forward to working with Timothy and the Chorus in future months, both remotely through digital means and on stage when we are able to reopen.”

The Chorus performs a broad range of music as part of the Royal Northern Sinfonia family. It is made up of amateur musicians who work to professional standards, and members are drawn from all walks of life from across the North of England.

If you would like to join the Chorus, we would love to hear from you. Under Chorus Director Timothy Burke, you will work with many guest conductors and perform regularly on stage at Sage Gateshead, accompanied by Royal Northern Sinfonia. Membership is by audition and prospective singers may arrange to attend a rehearsal before auditioning. To register your interest, email:


For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead E.

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead E.

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre and renowned conference and event venue located in the North East of England. It is for artists, for audiences and for the North.

Our iconic building, designed by Foster & Partners, welcomes around 500,000 visitors each year. It is home to the acclaimed Royal Northern Sinfonia and presents around 400 events and festivals each year for a live audience of 350,000 (six million people hear our work via stream or broadcasts). Every year we support over 100 musicians through our artist development programme and we work with 30,000 children and young people as well as 20,000 adults in our creative learning programme.

As a charity we rely on financial support from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Arts Council England and our donors to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music.

Positioned as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation, our continued ambition for the future is to work to significantly to increase the number and range of people connected with music.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums

and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.