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Sage Gateshead



Posted on 7 October 2019

RNS Balloons

Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) – orchestra of Sage Gateshead – has been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, ‘celebrating the outstanding, the pioneering and the inspirational in classical music’.

The chamber orchestra, which celebrated its 60th year in 2018, resides at Sage Gateshead, which opened in 2004. It performs more than 130 concerts each season, both at its home and across the North of England.

The RPS Awards bring together the UK’s musical profession, from superstars of the stage to unsung heroes engaging the nation with great music-making. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the prestigious awards.

Royal Northern Sinfonia has been shortlisted in the ‘Ensemble’ category. Its 60th anniversary opening weekend included the launch of a new inclusive ensemble ‘RNS Moves’, involving both disabled and non-disabled professional musicians. It also included ‘RNS Rocks’, a collaboration with indie rock bands Maximo Park, Field Music and Martha Hill. There was a huge children’s party and a three-part gala concert.

Other highlights from the season included launching a new minimal series at Wylam Brewery, a special photographic exhibition featuring audience members and commissioning three encores from British composers.

RNS takes its music across the region to the North West, Yorkshire and Humber offering people who would otherwise not have access to classical music the chance to see concerts or participate in music sessions in their area. They have staged dementia friendly performances, signed performances, relaxed performances and RNS Live! Concerts for schools.

Last year RNS reached a live audience of more than 95,000 people and reached an estimated four million through broadcasts.

Thorben Dittes, Director of Classical Programme at Sage Gateshead, said: “During our 60th anniversary season we really strived to create new and interesting opportunities for people to experience our music, challenging ourselves and bringing audiences closer to the musicians.

“It is wonderful for our work to be recognised in this way and we are over the moon to be shortlisted for such an esteemed award.”

New RPS Chief Executive James Murphy said: “The RPS Awards are a fantastic chance for music lovers nationally to discover who has made an extraordinary impact in the last year, and who to follow in the years ahead. There are so many inspirational artists and initiatives to discover on this year’s shortlist, collectively illustrating the vibrant role classical music plays enriching the United Kingdom.”

Winners are announced at the RPS Awards on Thursday 28 November 2019, held for the first time at Battersea Arts Centre in London, and presented in association with BBC Radio 3.




For further information, interviews, review tickets or images please contact:

Kate Holland, Classical Marketing Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. T. 0191 443 4567

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879


Notes to editors:

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Lars Vogt Music Director
Julian Rachlin Principal Guest Conductor
Thomas Zehetmair Conductor Laureate
Karin Hendrickson Assistant Conductor, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Music Director, Young Sinfonia

Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, is the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra. Founded in 1958, RNS has built a worldwide reputation for the North East through the quality of its music-making and the immediacy of the connections the musicians make with audiences.

The orchestra regularly flies the flag for the region at major festivals, including the BBC Proms, most recently performing Handel’s Water Music at Stage@theDock in Hull – the first Prom performed

outside of London since 1930. They appear frequently at venues and festivals in Europe, and in recent seasons have toured to Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul and Tokyo.

RNS has always been actively involved in local communities and in education. This season the orchestra will perform across the region in Kendal, Middlesbrough, Carlisle, Berwick and Sunderland, and will once again take their Christmas by Candlelight tour to regional churches.

Musicians support young people learning musical instruments through Sage Gateshead’s Centre for Advanced Training and through the In Harmony project.


Sage Gateshead

We present around 400 events and festivals each year for a live audience of 350,000, six million people hear our work via stream or broadcast and 500,000 visit our building, often national and international visitors. Each year we support over 100 musicians through our artist development programme and we work with 30,000 children and young people and 20,000 adults in our creative learning programme.

As a charity, the financial support we receive from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Arts Council England and our donors helps 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.

We are home to the acclaimed Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as our popular, annual festivals SummerTyne Americana and Folk on the Tyne. We are dedicated to supporting emerging artists, as well as established names, offering residencies such as our Summer Studio and Folkworks Summer Schools.

Alongside our music performance and learning offer, our iconic building, designed by Foster & Partners, provides the perfect venue to over 100 conferences and events a year.

In our first decade, our economic impact was £283 million. We are for audiences, for artists, for the North and for the long-term. Everything we do is guided by our values: Creative, Diverse, Focused, Leading, Responsible.



For over 200 years, the Royal Philharmonic Society has been at the heart of music, creating opportunities for musicians to excel, championing the vital role that music plays in all our lives.

It all began in 1813 when a group of musicians set out to establish a series of orchestral concerts in London. The Society’s regular performances attracted world-class artists including Mendelssohn and Wagner, and it commissioned exhilarating new music for an eager public to hear: most famously, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In its founding gesture, the Society created a lasting culture. Other orchestras found their footing and their music resounds across Britain today.

200 years later, the Society continues to celebrate and empower musicians who – like its founders – strive to enrich society with all that they do. Through grants, commissions, coaching and performance opportunities, the RPS helps exciting young performers and composers find their voice. Through the renowned annual RPS Awards, the Society celebrates the quality, impact and ingenuity of the finest artists and creative forces at work today. Through its Membership, the RPS aims to cultivate national pride and curiosity in classical music, and rouse audiences to recognise the vital and valued role they play in the country’s thriving musical heritage. Through all its endeavours, the RPS is dedicated to proving classical music’s rightful and powerful place in society.