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Sage Gateshead



Posted on 6 October 2020

Lanterns on the Lake

Sage Gateshead announces details of programmes and artists for Sage Live 2020, a seven-week series of live performances running from 23 October until December, which will also be live streamed. These will be the first live music performances in the venue since it closed its doors in March this year due to coronavirus. The concerts aim to present the very best of Sage Gateshead, and feature Royal Northern Sinfonia on Fridays and a series of contemporary musicians on Saturdays.

Royal Northern Sinfonia will perform well known works from the classical repertoire alongside some lesser known music including a world premiere and Sage Gateshead commission from Kristina Arakelyan Fantasia on a theme by Ludwig van Beethoven and Jessie Montgomery’s inventive Strum.  A highlight for many will be the return of Principal Artistic Partner Lars Vogt, with two performances of Beethoven’s mighty ‘Emperor’ concerto. RNS is committed to showcasing the talent of underrepresented groups in its programming, joining a vital cultural conversation about the future of classical music.

Contemporary gigs include appearances from Sage Gateshead favourite Kathryn Tickell in a bespoke curated show with her family; a rare solo show from songsmith Richard Dawson, and the chance to hear Mercury nominated Lanterns on the Lake perform their critically-acclaimed album Spook the Herd.

The programme will be announced in ‘waves’, and the first three weeks of concerts go on sale to the general public on 8 October. Sage Gateshead hopes to welcome both regular and new audience members and has designed the series with this in mind.

Sage Live 2020 features two performances each week, with a classical concert each Friday and a contemporary gig on the Saturday. Concerts will also be live streamed. Audiences have the option of booking a table on the Concourse before each show, where they can enjoy a drink and free live music from the Concourse stage.

An allocation of free tickets is available to all shows for Health and Social Care workers and Gateshead residents attending for the first time.

The safety of artists and audiences is a top priority at the venue, with carefully planned social distancing measures in place on stage, in the auditorium, and throughout all public areas. Concerts will be in Sage One, using only 300 of the 1,700 seats to ensure that households can be safely distanced.

During lockdown Sage Gateshead launched a major fundraising campaign, Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance, which aims to raise £3 million in the next three years in response to the urgent financial challenge posed by Covid19. 60% of the company’s income stopped overnight when the building closed in March, and a further 20% of income has been significantly impacted by the crisis. Many people have generously donated tickets, memberships or cash, which has helped the company to survive, although there is still significant money to raise. The charity aims to raise £1m by summer 2021 to safeguard its future.


For further information, interviews or images please contact:
Jackie Thompson, Marketing & Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead


Notes to Editors

Sage Live 2020: Full programme listing

Friday 23 October
Royal Northern Sinfonia
Jessica Cottis
Philip Nelson
double bass
Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Concerto for Double Bass
Jessie Montgomery
Symphony No.39

Saturday 24 October
Kathryn Tickell’s Saturday Social
Pre-concert performance: Holly Clarke               

Friday 30 October
Royal Northern Sinfonia
Lars Vogt
Hebrides Overture
Kristina Arakelyan Fantasia on a theme by Ludwig van Beethoven (World Premiere – Sage Gateshead commission)
Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 ‘Emperor’

Saturday 31 October
Richard Dawson
Pre-concert performance: Yakka Doon              

Friday 6 November
Royal Northern Sinfonia
van Soeterstède conductor
Steffan Morris
Serenade for Strings
Ylva Skorg They Call Her Love
Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile
Sibelius (arr. Farrington) Symphony No.5

Saturday 7 November
Lanterns on the Lake
Pre-concert performance: Martha Hill


  • Since opening 15 years ago, 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 major employer and has brought investment and tourism into the region, generating c. £500 million contribution to the local economy.
  • More importantly, Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity.
  • Last year 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 will be lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis, but further challenges lie ahead. 90% of the workforce has been on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and its fundraising campaign aims to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. However, income levels are likely to be drastically reduced well into next year, and so the charity is redoubling its fundraising efforts.
  • Arts and Culture in the North East had a turnover of £400 million, providing employment for 2,450 people in 2016 (last year for which figures are available)
  • Performing arts accounted for 33% (i.e. >£133 million) and 700 jobs
  • Gross Value Added of arts and culture sector to the NE is £203 million


Royal Northern Sinfonia

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.

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 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, and also increasingly programmes accessible and relaxed performances throughout the season.

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 In Harmony Newcastle.


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.

We are a charity and rely on the support of donors to ensure everyone in the North East community can experience the joy of music.

Every year we welcome 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.