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Royal Northern Sinfonia takes music to Gateshead community

Posted on 26 November 2018


Older people living in Gateshead were treated to a recital by members of Royal Northern Sinfonia in their nearby community centre. The musicians performed a special concert for visitors to Gateshead Older People’s Assembly’s health and wellbeing hub in Deckham Village Hall.

People over the age of 50 who live in Gateshead use the charity’s centre for a range of activities. It also has a pay-what-you-can community café and provides volunteering and learning opportunities.

Four musicians from the orchestra, Iona Brown, Jane Nossek, Tegwen Jones and Nick Byrne played well-known pieces by Pachelbel, Elgar and Haydn. Audience members were invited to try their hand at the violin afterwards.

Craig Bankhead, Chief Executive at Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, said: “_We are in the third most deprived ward in the area and something like Royal Northern Sinfonia playing here can really make a difference to people.
“There has been a real buzz about them coming to perform and an excitement from people. It has given them so much enjoyment and is something they might not otherwise get the opportunity to do._”

Kathryn Roll is a resident and regular visitor to the centre. She said: “_I had to take early retirement for medical reasons and I was encouraged to exercise regularly, which is why I come here. When I heard Royal Northern Sinfonia was coming I really fancied coming along and listening as I love all types of music, including classical. It’s great and I hope they can do more of this._”

The orchestra is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. It is appealing for contributions to enable them to take the very best in classical music to as wide an audience as possible. With a target of £60,000 to be met by the end of the 18/19 classical season (June 2019), the appeal is for donations to either mark the year the orchestra was founded with a monthly direct debit of £19.58 or a donation of £60 to help celebrate the 60th anniversary. As an incentive, anyone who donates £60 or more to the appeal is entered into a prize draw. The winner is given the opportunity for a quartet/quintet to play in their living room or local community centre and the chance to chat to the musicians afterwards.

For more information on how to support Royal Northern Sinfonia visit

For further information, interviews or images please contact:
Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead
E. T. 0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead
E. T. 0191 443 4617 number M. 07793 762 879

Notes to editors:


Lars Vogt Music Director
Julian Rachlin Principal Guest Conductor
Thomas Zehetmair Conductor Laureate

Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, is the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra. Founded in 1958, RNS has built a world-wide 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 the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms, this year performing Handel’s Water Music at The Stage @ the Dock in Hull – the first Prom performed outside of London since 1930. They appear frequently at venues and festivals in Europe, and last season toured in South America, China and South Korea.

In recent seasons RNS has worked with conductors and soloists Christian Tetzlaff, Olli Mustonen, Reinhard Goebel, Katrina Canellakis and Nicholas McGegan; a host of world class singers including Sally Matthews, Karen Cargill and Elizabeth Watts, and also collaborated with leading popular voices such as Sting, Ben Folds, John Grant and Mercury Rev.

RNS has commissioned new music, recently by Benedict Mason, David Lang, John Casken and Kathryn Tickell, and in the 2015/16 season launched a new Young Composers Competition.

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, Barnard Castle and Sunderland, and once again take their Baroque Christmas by Candlelight tour to regional churches. Musicians support young people learning musical instruments through Sage Gateshead’s Centre for Advanced Training and through In Harmony, a long-term programme in Hawthorn Primary School in which every child in the school learns a musical instrument and plays in an orchestra.

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.

Every year it welcomes more than two million visitors. More than 400 concerts featuring all kinds of local, regional and international music, take place all year round. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in the building but across the region, with 190,000 people of all ages taking part in over 10,000 music classes and workshops.

The iconic building, designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and is a place where emerging artists are nurtured through dedicated programmes and festivals.

As a charity, the support it receives helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music.

Image Credit: Mark Savage