Posted on 8 June 2018


Royal Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of Sage Gateshead, 60th anniversary season is now on sale

The 2018/19 season will open on Friday 21 September 2018, coinciding with the orchestra’s 60th birthday weekend, celebrating the past and looking forward to the future. The opening weekend will kick-start with a very special RNS Rocks concert, featuring some of the best loved indie rock bands from the North East. The celebrations will continue with an RNS Kids’ Birthday Party and RNS Moves – the first performance from a new kind of ensemble featuring both disabled and non-disabled musicians. The weekend will end with a Big RNS Birthday Gala with works from Beethoven, Mozart, Prokofiev, Haydn and more.

Thorben Dittes, Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia and Classical Music Programme at Sage Gateshead, said: “This sixtieth birthday we not only look back and celebrate the achievements of this marvellous group of musicians, but we also look to the future, when RNS is recognised as the UK’s leading chamber orchestra”

Throughout the year, three amazing ‘Artists in Focus’, will showcase their work in various guises. They include Lars Vogt with ‘Why I Love Brahms’, Mahan Esfahani with ‘Harpsichord Pioneer’ and Viktoria Mullova with ‘From Moscow to Rio’.

Viktoria initially trained in Soviet Russia before moving to the US, with plenty of touring in between, and her travels are hugely reflected in her music. They have encouraged her to throw herself fully into the sheer richness and variety of music and have made her curious and inquisitive about all genres. “I treat music in the same way whatever it is. If you want to play a piece of music, you need to ask yourself what you want to say with it and what you want other people to enjoy about it. That’s the same whatever the music is,” she said.

Lars Vogt will focus on Brahms as both conductor and soloist, culminating in a mammoth Brahms Fest on Saturday 15 June, while Mahan Esfahani, one of the world’s most exciting and innovative young musicians, will be with RNS for a three-concert residency, performing works from Bach to Michael Nyman.

Three ‘Big Birthday Encores’ have been commissioned especially for the birthday season, creating exciting miniatures to be performed again and again. The three commissioned artists are Errollyn Wallen, whose work includes music for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games London 2012 amongst many others; the award-winning Tansy Davies, composer-in-residence at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw for the 18/19 season; and William Marsey, whose work draws on minimalism, church music and contemporary poetry.

Sage Gateshead’s three titled conductors, Lars Vogt, Julian Rachlin and Thomas Zehetmair will each bring special projects to the season’s programme. Working alongside them to develop the work of the classical programme this season will be Tristan Gurney, who is announced as Chamber Music Curator; Alasdair Beatson as Chamber Pianist-in-Residence; and Karin Hendrickson, who has been appointed to the new post of Music Director Young Sinfonia/ Assistant Conductor RNS.

New this season is ‘RNS Minimal @ Wylam’ – a brand new series of music which will take place in the Grand Hall at Wylam Brewery in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park. Audiences will be able to choose whether to stand or sit to listen to music in this unusual, intimate venue. This series will sit alongside the other seven which will take place in the orchestra’s home at Sage Gateshead