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Sage Gateshead provides opportunities to create, listen and celebrate music

Posted on 16 September 2022

Autumn Season Collage

For audiences, for artists, for the North, for the long term

Sage Gateshead is delighted to open its doors for this autumn’s incredible celebration of music. A busy and vibrant time for the music charity, it is set to host over 100 events showcasing the best classical and contemporary music and offer more than 50 different classes for people of all ages and stages of participation in music.

Sage Gateshead’s autumn line-up is once again a rich and diverse opportunity to create, listen to and celebrate music, set to enthuse new and long-standing fans alike.

Celebrating its first full season since the pandemic, Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) returns with an array of events including the opening of the classical season with Mozart’s masterpiece Mass in C minor, conducted by Principal Conductor Dinis Sousa. As announced earlier, this concert will include a dedication to the memory of Lars Vogt who served as music director from 2015 – 2020 and died recently.

The concert will now also mark the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Another unmissable performance sees David Bowie’s music as reimagined by Philip Glass in RNS Plays Glass: The Bowie Symphonies.

The relationship between spirituality and music will be a recurring theme this season. As the Lindisfarne Gospels return to the North East, conductor James Weeks, Royal Northern Sinfonia and one of Britain’s greatest living singers – Dame Sarah Connolly – come together to explore centuries of spirituality in sounds, words and images.

Concerts on 17 and 23 September will be preceded by special, free events featuring a panel of experts discussing the theme of ‘music and spirituality’ on the Concourse of Sage Gateshead.

For those wanting to enjoy RNS from the comfort of their homes, highlights of the RNS season are livestreamed, and there is a new RNS YouTube channel featuring performances, livestream excerpts, interviews, behind the scenes features and short films.

Sage Gateshead will continue bringing visiting world-class music to audiences in the North East with a classical music showcase featuring performances from great pianists such as Angela Hewitt, Sir Stephen Hough, and Benjamin Grosvenor, renowned orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Belgian National Orchestra, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and many other exceptional guest artists.

Contemporary music at Sage Gateshead continues to bring together music lovers from across genres. The autumn line-up includes some incredible performances from, Madeleine Peyroux, Penguin Café, Kate Bush Live-e-oke, Witch n’Monk: Unravelling the Mind, Soumik Datta, Brass in Concert, and William Basinski. Sage Gateshead also looks forward to sharing the music of RJ Thompson, Fay Hield, Don McLean, Laura Jurd and Tom Chaplin with audiences over the coming months.

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North, and through music, creative learning and artist development demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.

Along with bringing great artists to the region, Sage Gateshead is committed to helping develop diverse music here in the North East. Joining Sage Gateshead’s Artists in Residence programme this month, an initiative supporting four developing musicians each year, are Anna Hughes, Ceitidh Mac, Kerrin Tatman and Late Girl. They will all create work we can hear and enjoy next summer.

Sage Gateshead supports local people to be creative, to develop a passion for music and put music at the heart of communities. Its highly successful Make Music programme returns on Thursday, September 22, ready to welcome 400 people weekly to its adult and family classes. Among these are exciting new classes such as Nu-Groove Brass Band, which combines the traditions of the original New Orleans brass bands with contemporary styles and sounds from R&B and Hip Hop bringing funky soul and swing to the banks of the Tyne. Intermediate Sax is the perfect class to improve and develop Saxophone skills in a fun and relaxed group, covering a broad range of music including Pop, Jazz, Swing and Blues. Swing Band offers the perfect opportunity to be part of an ensemble dedicated to bringing the fantastic sounds of the big bands and swing bands to the North East.

For people unable to get to the building, a selection of these classes continue online, and a new selection of Make Music On Demand lessons launch this month to help people enjoy learning music from home at their own pace.

September also sees the return of Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians programme, providing 350 children with the best musical educational experiences. The Centre for Advanced Training offers seven programmes spanning classical, folk, popular and contemporary styles, and delivers musical excellence for ambitious young musicians aged 10-19. Youth Ensembles welcome musicians aged 13-19 committed to honing their playing and singing skills as part of any of the eight groups offered. The Foundation and Step Up programmes include six classes for young musicians aged 4-14 and provide an exciting way to learn and develop for the complete beginner.

Sage Gateshead continues to navigate the aftermath of what was one of the toughest ever periods in history for culture. The charity will continue delivering the benefits of music for as many as possible at Sage Gateshead, in local schools and through its partnerships across the region.

The charity is currently in the third year of a three-year campaign to support music-making through the pandemic into recovery and welcomes any donations towards the £1million still needed to deliver its programme over the next twelve months. Please visit for details.


Media enquiries: Susie Gray, 07834 073795

About 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 demonstrates 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 bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy.
  • 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-pandemic 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. 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. Performances recommenced in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across types of music, 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 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.