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Sage Gateshead and the power of music — four stories
Sage Gateshead is an international music centre with deep roots in the North East.
Music is a powerful force for good. Through music, people come together, create unforgettable memories, and develop life-long skills. A flourishing music scene also supports the local economy. That’s why our charity exists; we are here for music-lovers and music-makers of any age or stage.
“It is a privilege to come to Sage Gateshead every week to play my recorders and then to listen to some excellent Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts.” Enid Mitchell
“The chaotic nature of life, and its associated issues, seems to disappear when stepping over the threshold of Sage Gateshead. It’s the architecture, the location and the music but, most importantly the people who make it such a warm environment.” Matthew Weddle
As well as being a home for concerts and gigs of all types of music, people in the North East can come to our music centre to learn music and be creative, and we’re a place where artists can find support. You can step through our doors, find us out in the region, or get involved online.
Sage Gateshead exists for audiences, for artists, for the North and for the long term.
Read more about what music means to our audiences by exploring four stories.
A greenhouse where new music grows in the North East
Making new music and moving to the next level in the music industry is challenging. Through our artist development programme, emerging musicians can access much-needed funding, mentoring, a passionate community, and rehearsal and performance spaces.
Holly Clarke, a folk musician, first performed at Sage Gateshead in 2016 while studying at Newcastle University. She went on to take part in one of our programmes, becoming an Artist in Residence in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic struck halfway through her residency, but this became another obstacle she overcame on her artistic journey.
A place for young people to begin a lifetime of making music
The Young Musicians Programme at Sage Gateshead enables young people to develop their skills and passion for music. Our music centre is home to the Young Sinfonia, Folkestra, and many regular classes. Whatever a young person’s experience, background or financial situation, we strive to remove the barriers to pursuing music as a life-long passion and potentially as a career.
Vanessa joined the Young Musicians Programme at the age of six. She’s continued in the programme with the help of a bursary. She says, “Music has been one of the things that kept me going through the tough times. It’s given me the opportunity to develop a whole part of my life.”
A place for people in the North East to enjoy great music
The various stages and spaces of Sage Gateshead play host to musicians of the highest quality across all types of music. Our main hall is ranked among the world’s top concert halls for acoustics.
Sage Gateshead is the home of Royal Northern Sinfonia, the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra. RNS perform regularly on our main stage and in venues throughout the region, as well as taking part in our music education programmes.
Our music centre is also the home of RNS Moves, an ensemble featuring disabled and non-disabled musicians.
Music-lovers in the North East are keen to be surprised and discover new artists. That’s why we create moments when people can try something new.
BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead in July 2022 was a musical experience like no other. Outside of its usual London residence for the first time, the world’s biggest classical music festival, BBC Proms, came to the North East. The event brought together RNS, folk traditions, a mass participation choir, and one of our Artists in Residence – and the audience loved it.
Supporting the local communities we belong to
Serving the people of the North East, we run a range of community programmes and projects that show how music makes a real difference to people’s lives.
For example, at Loud and Clear, a programme launched in 2011, adoptive parents, foster carers and their families develop their relationships and build a support network through music-making.
For three years, in partnership with Age UK Gateshead and Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, we ran Well Tuned Gateshead, a project consisting of six community music groups that bring together people over the age of 50. People have loved making new friends through music, and the groups are still making music now.
Sage Gateshead is also part of Gateshead Council’s Warm Spaces Network. Offering free entry, refreshments, and areas for work and play, the Warm Spaces initiative is made up of venues, libraries, town halls, sports clubs and community centres across Gateshead. Sage Gateshead and our neighbour, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, also offer free Wi-Fi and charging spots and Pay What You Can tea and coffee. Both venues have baby changing facilities and accessible toilets.