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Sage Gateshead



Posted on 26 April 2021

Smoove & Turrell
  • Sage Gateshead reveals the next four concerts in its first season of 2021, New Beginnings
  • Royal Northern Sinfonia shares first concert with music selected by players from the orchestra and John Wilson returns
  • Sage Gateshead supports musicians from the North East to get back on stage and get audiences dancing in their houses
  • Tickets on-sale now (Saturday 24 April at 10am), and live streams are available to watch for 48 hours after broadcast
  • New partnership with Blacks Corner offers audiences a unique dining package to add to their at-home streaming experience
  • New Beginnings season:

Sage Gateshead is delighted to share the line-up for the next four concerts in its opening season of 2021, New Beginnings. These upcoming concerts remain live streamed from Sage Gateshead and available to audiences online.

The four Friday nights alternate contemporary music with performances by Royal Northern Sinfonia, the orchestra of Sage Gateshead.

Supporting artists from the North East to get back on stage, Sage Gateshead welcomes Smoove & Turrell on Friday 7 May. Streamed directly into living rooms, Turrell’s conscious lyricism and Smoove’s impeccable production embody old-school influences in a band looking to the future.

Fresh takes and inspiring ideas are at the heart of the New Beginnings series, and on Friday 14 May Royal Northern Sinfonia returns to the stage with a programme selected by members of the orchestra for the first time. Selecting work that contrasts with Piazzolla’s sultry tango-infused Four Seasons the programme showcases individual talents within the orchestra and shines a light on underrepresented composers.

Sage Gateshead’s Sage Sessions usually fill YouTube with sets by brilliant emerging artists from across the north, filmed in hidden corners of the iconic building. For New Beginnings Sage Sessions is going LIVE from the stage at Sage One on Friday 21 May, where two solo artists perform a feast of ambient and alternative music, visuals and movement.

Dyskinetic is the musical adventures of singer/songwriter Kris Halpin. A disabled musician, Kris uses Imogen Heap’s ground-breaking MiMu Gloves to create music in the space between electronic and rock using hand gestures and futuristic technology. SL Walkinshaw is an emerging artist, musician and composer known as one half of Tyneside experimental duo Ten Sticks. Stuart’s debut solo album, Tape/String, was released in April, using field recordings, analogue ambience and acoustic instruments to create an ambient soundscape that at once feels familiar and new.

A hot, sultry summer’s evening in small town America is evoked by Samuel Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915, the centrepiece of a programme that points the way to warmer, longer days in RNS’s concert on Friday 28 May. John Wilson’s Summer Songs sees Gateshead-born and RNS regular John Wilson joining the orchestra to conduct works by Delius, Richard Rodney Bennett, Copland and of course Barber.

The season will continue until 25 June with further announcements of programme to come.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead said, “We are thrilled to be announcing our second set of New Beginnings gigs. I am particularly happy that they feature the North East’s own – John Wilson, Smoove and Turrell, Royal Northern Sinfonia – alongside a Sage Gateshead debut for Kris Halpin. It’s going to be a musically thrilling series.  We know from the events we’ve done so far that musicians are really enjoying getting back to music making and live gigs and we are so happy to have music again on Sage Gateshead stages.

Thanks to everyone who has joined us online for the beginning of the series. We really hope that we’ll soon be able to invite you back into the building for the next part of this series. Until then, join us online for this brilliant group of musicians.”

Sage Gateshead is delighted to announce a new collaboration with Blacks Corner offering concert bookers the option to add a unique dining package to their at-home streaming experience. Blacks Corner are a locally based independent deli and restaurant offering a range of top-quality products. Sage Gateshead customers will be able to choose from a selection of hampers, designed exclusively for Sage Gateshead’s streamed concerts, delivered to their door before their concert. Each hamper contains a selection of British cheese and charcuterie paired with the choice of wine or juice, and comes with a selection of accompaniments. Prices start from £37.50 and booking opens at the start of next week at Hampers need to be booked by 10pm on a Tuesday for delivery that Friday, delivery available across the UK.


New Beginnings season:

For further media information please contact Susie Gray, [email protected] 07834 073795


Friday 7 May, 8pm
Smoove & TurrellThe story of Smoove & Turrell began in the post-millennium North East of England with a group of working-class lads and a shared passion for soul music.

Streamed live to your living room as part of New Beginnings comes Turrell’s conscious lyricism with Smoove’s impeccable production. Keyboard player Mike Porter’s collection of analogue synths comes to the fore on the new album Stratos Bleu, with a nod to the heady days of early 90’s clubbing. In the context of this band as dancefloor favourites it makes perfect sense: old-school influences from a band looking to the future. A brilliant Friday night party gig to enjoy at home as we look forward to better times ahead.

Friday 14 May, 7.30pm
Spotlight on RNS: Five Composers, Four Seasons

Fresh takes and inspiring ideas are what the New Beginnings series is all about, and this concert mirrors the theme perfectly. Contrasting with the movements of Piazzolla’s sultry tango-infused Four Seasons are pieces chosen by members of Royal Northern Sinfonia; the first time that members of the orchestra have revealed their creative minds by curating a concert together especially for you! The programme showcases individual talents in the orchestra, shines a light on some gems by underrepresented composers worth knowing, and finishes with Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante – a hit at its premiere, being described as ‘profound, airy, affecting and original’. We hope you enjoy listening to this concert as much as we enjoyed plotting it!

Alexandra Raikhlina, Violin, Royal Northern Sinfonia

Friday 21 May, 8pm
Sage Sessions Live: Dyskinetic | SL Walkinshaw

Sage Gateshead’s Sage Sessions usually fill YouTube with sets by brilliant emerging artists from across the north, filmed in hidden corners of the iconic building. For New Beginnings we’re going LIVE from the Sage One Stage, and two solo artists join us for a feast of ambient and alternative music, visuals and movement.

Dyskinetic is the musical adventures of singer/songwriter Kris Halpin. A disabled musician, Kris uses Imogen Heap’s groundbreaking MiMu Gloves to create music using hand gestures and overcome access barriers. His music explores the space between electronic music & rock through futuristic technology. His influences include Deftones, Bjork, Depeche Mode and Smashing Pumpkins. Kris has performed all over the world with appearances at Birmingham Symphony Hall, Kawasaki Symphony Hall & the Kennedy Center, DC. Performing specially commissioned music created in collaboration with choreographer Ayaka Takai, Kris will use the gloves to generate music based on his natural movements rather than treating them as an ‘instrument’ to play. He will also be debuting three songs, never heard before by the public, and performing some existing music.

SL Walkinshaw is an emerging artist, musician and composer. Normally seen in a collaborative role with other musicians in his projects (including Tyneside experimental duo Ten Sticks), Stuart’s debut solo album, ‘Tape/String’, was released in April. Using field recordings, analogue ambience and acoustic instruments to create an ambient soundscape that at once feels familiar and new – at times uncanny and always textural. There is a natural calm and clarity that is soaked into the tracks, as well as a personal history; utilising found recordings of family members in tracks such as ‘Metachrist’ and ‘Lights Out’.

The project began to take shape when Stuart found boxes of cassette tapes with the voices of his grandparents and started to make analogue loops, and build over them with a four-track recorder. “When I began the project the world was halfway through 2020 so an element of escapism became pretty self-evident (and welcomed!). Making cassette tape loops was a nice way to occupy me with a task.”

Friday 28 May, 7.30pm
RNS: John Wilson’s Summer Songs

A hot, sultry summer’s evening in small town America is evoked by Samuel Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915, the centrepiece of a programme that points the way to warmer, longer, days. Staying with the American theme is Copland’s ever-popular Appalachian Spring, a soaring masterpiece that captures the sound and spirit of the USA. Crossing the pond back to England, the concert opens with Richard Rodney Bennett’s graceful Summer Music and Delius’ mesmerising A Song before Sunrise, which captures that moment of stillness before the sun slips below the horizon. Gateshead-born RNS regular John Wilson joins us to conduct this beautiful programme.

Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation shows what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer and has brought investment and tourism into the region, generating c. £500 million contribution to the local economy, a sum six times greater than its combined capital cost.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-lockdown Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead, the iconic Foster + Partners designed NE landmark. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the National lockdown. Sage Gateshead recommenced performances in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across genres, made available by live stream; audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated the financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for this vital support.


Royal Northern Sinfonia

Dinis Sousa Principal Conductor

Thomas Zehetmair Conductor Laureate

Lars Vogt, Julian Rachlin Principal Artistic Partners

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.

In 2020 the orchestra took part in Sage Live 2020, with live-streamed performances from Sage One and to socially distanced audiences when permitted. They also featured in Sage Gateshead’s popular ‘Christmas Cracker’ film, appearing alongside artists including Sam Fender and Martha Hill.

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, including La Folle Journée in Nantes. In recent seasons they have toured to Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul and Tokyo.

RNS has worked with many international conductors and soloists including Christian Tetzlaff, Sir Roger Norrington, Paul McCreesh, Jess Gillam, Nicholas McGegan, Mahan Esfahani, Viktoria Mullova and Jessica Cottis, and also collaborated with leading popular voices such as Sting, Ben Folds, John Grant, Mercury Rev, Field Music and Maxïmo Park.

RNS has commissioned new music by David Lang, John Casken, Tansy Davies, Errollyn Wallen CBE and James Weeks amongst others, and runs an annual Young Composers Competition.

In order to engage with the widest possible range of artists and audiences, in 2018 RNS founded its inclusive ensemble RNS Moves which brings together musicians with and without disabilities, and also increasingly programmes accessible and relaxed performances throughout the season.

RNS has always been actively involved in local communities and in education. RNS performs in venues across the North and musicians support young people learning musical instruments through Sage Gateshead’s Centre for Advanced Training and through In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead.