Opening Times
Revised Box Office Opening Hours (Phone only)
Our opening hours are 12noon – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday inclusive.
Please note that the building remains closed outside of show times.

☎️ 0191 443 4661

Opening Times:
Revised Box Office Opening Hours (Phone only)
Our opening hours are 12noon – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday inclusive.
Please note that the building remains closed outside of show times.

☎️ 0191 443 4661

 →  Foundation and Step Up Programme

Foundation and Step Up Programme

Gemma Kost website size

Gemma Kost (Foundation Strings Project Leader & Cello) 

Gemma studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music, after which she established a varied career as a freelance cellist.  She has performed with Royal Northern Sinfonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, The Philharmonia and Opera North. Other performing  highlights include a ten-week European tour with Sting, festivals and touring with folk band The Unthanks, and an album recording with electro pioneer Anna Meredith. Gemma loves teaching, and hopes to pass some of her passion for live music onto the next generation. She has been Programme Leader of Foundation Strings since 2017.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings, Step Up Strings and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

Benjamin Lee (Step Up Strings Project Leader & Violin)

Benjamin graduated from the Royal College of Music with a first class degree and is enjoying a rich and varied career as a violinist, composer, string arranger and educator. As a violinist Benjamin has appeared as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, is former leader of the Heritage Orchestra and has performed with the London Philharmonic and Royal Northern Sinfonia orchestras. He has also recorded, performed and toured with many pop artists including Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, McFly, Arctic Monkeys and Damon Albarn to name a few.

As a composer, he has received commissions from Alexander McQueen, Hugo Boss, Gucci and the London 2012 Olympics as well as numerous TV and Film credits. As an educator, Benjamin was violin professor at Broomwood Hall in London for seven years and directed the Chichester String Orchestra.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

Rebecca O'Donnell

Rebecca O’Donnell (Step Up Wind Project Leader & Oboe)

Rebecca studied at the Royal College of Music and in 2016 completed her Masters of Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Her orchestral work has included playing for the Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra of Scottish Ballet, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of Scottish Opera amongst others. In the summer of 2019 she joined RNS for their critically acclaimed residency at Nevill Holt Opera.

She has been involved with the outreach and education teams of the Philharmonia and the English Chamber Orchestra in schools in and around London and was a member of Albert’s Band, the Royal Albert Hall’s 15 piece education mini-orchestra.

Teaches on: Step Up Wind and Centre for Advanced Training

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Annie Francomb (Step Up Wind Project Leader & Clarinet)

Annie studied clarinet at The Royal Academy of Music. She has taught at the Centre for Advanced Training from its inception and also teaches at many schools throughout the region and privately. She also works as part of the In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead programme.

Annie has been teaching for over 30 years and also teaches saxophone. She teaches all levels and ages.

Teaches on: Step Up Wind and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

Emily Murray (Study Leader Music Language and Project Leader Foundation & Step Up Singing)

Emily has had a varied career as a pianist, trumpeter and violinist as an army musician in the Band of the Welsh Guards and as an accompanist and teacher in London. Having returned to the North East, Emily is now Assistant Director of Music at Durham School and regularly performs as a chamber musician, accompanist and solo recitalist.

Teaches on: Foundation and Step Up Singing and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

Tony Abell (Double Bass)

Tony studied double bass with Kevin Rundell and jazz piano with Lionel Grigson at Guildhall. He played in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 1985-2006 as both tutti and sub principal bass. In 2007 Tony moved to Newcastle. He works regularly with Royal Northern Sinfonia and teaches and plays double/electric bass and jazz piano. He is also a tutor with In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings, Step Up Strings and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

Alessandra Amorino (Flute)

Alessandra earned an MA in Flute from the Conservatory of Cagliari and a BA in Chamber Music from the Conservatory of Rome. She was awarded the Berio Prize at the Severino Gazzelloni Fellowship Competition in 2002, for the best performance of Berio’s Sequenza I. As an expert in contemporary music, she performs as soloist and plays flute(s) in two renowned Italian chamber ensembles, participating in major music festivals across Europe.

She was a member of the Spoleto’s Teatro Lirico Orchestra (59th season), and she frequently served as principal flute/piccolo in the R3O Orchestra in Rome (2002-2016) and as second flute in Royal Northern Sinfonia. She is flute teacher at the Emmanuel College in Gateshead and collaborates with the Music Department of Durham University. She has an MA in Art History from the Roma Tre University.

Teaches on: Step Up Wind

Sage Gateshead

Jennifer Bland (Cello & Musicianship)

Jennifer loves sharing her passion for the cello with her pupils, and particularly enjoys including composition in her teaching from a young age to encourage creativity and understanding of music theory. In addition to her work at Sage Gateshead, Jennifer enjoys teaching cello and recorder in schools across North Tyneside and Newcastle, as well as conducting children’s choirs in schools.

When not teaching, Jennifer plays cello with orchestras in the region and sings soprano in the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia. She also performs regularly with a variety of chamber ensembles. In the summer Jennifer also enjoys leading workshops and performing for the Big Sing for Mini Singers at Sage Gateshead.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

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Imogen Bose-Ward (Violin)

A graduate of Newcastle University’s Folk and Traditional music degree, Imogen has been teaching since the age of 14 when she set up a local violin school. Imogen has been taught by some of Scotland’s best fiddle players, including Catriona Macdonald and Jenna Reid and has gigged across the UK and in Europe in her different band outfits. At  Sage Gateshead, Imogen teaches on the Folkworks courses, the Foundation Strings Programme and is part of the Early Years team. Imogen also enjoys teaching private lessons and has started teaching at some local schools.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings, Step Up Strings and Folkworks Saturdays

Sage Gateshead

Edward Campbell-Rowntree (Musicianship)

Edward first studied piano under David Murray before pursuing his BMus at King’s College, London, while receiving lessons at the Royal Academy of Music. He graduated with first class honours and went on to study for a Master’s in Music at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, specialising in French and German baroque opera. He teaches music language on the Young Musicians Programme, focusing on making music theory both exciting and accessible for all ages and abilities. He continues to work as a solo pianist and accompanist around the North East.

Teaches on: Foundation and Step Up Programmes and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

Ed Cross (Violin)

Ed completed his undergraduate degree in music at the University of Birmingham before returning to his home city of Newcastle upon Tyne where he was awarded a distinction for his MMus degree in performance at Newcastle University; he is currently working part-time towards a doctorate in 20th century performance practice, focusing on the use of rubato in late-Romantic solo violin repertoire. He currently performs regularly as a violinist with a variety of ensembles and gives concerto and recital performances around the North East.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings, Step Up Strings and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

Laura Davison (Brass)

Laura graduated from Newcastle University in 2013 with a degree in music before gaining a masters degree majoring in trombone performance on period and modern instruments. Since graduating, Laura has begun a career as a freelance trombonist and peripatetic brass tutor and is in demand for ensemble playing and solo recitals. She can regularly be seen performing with a number of ensembles throughout the North East of England and recently took part and performed in the BBC’s Music Day Hadrian’s Wall of Sound. Laura also performs in a variety of shows across the North East.

Teaches on: Step Up Wind and Centre for Advanced Training

Sage Gateshead

John Garner (Violin)

John has worked with a huge variety of artists across a broad spectrum of genres, including Chris Potter, The Last Skeptik, Sway Dasafo, John Williams (guitarist), Othon Mataragas, Stewart Copeland, AZEDIA and Joey Negro. He regularly performs with some of the UK’s finest orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia.

A graduate of The Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, formally trained in classical, jazz and South Indian music, John defies categorisation and is continually seeking new avenues of artistic expression, not least with his own groups Charkie Parlour, EMANATA, Mainly Two & The Guastalla Quartet. He is the co-director, alongside violinist Marie Schreer, of Turquoise Coconut, an independent record label with a colourfully eclectic output, and a senior lecturer in jazz violin at Leeds College of Music.

Teaches: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

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Nao Hasegawa (Violin)

Nao, originally from Japan, obtained her Bachelor of Music at Tokyo University of the Arts (Japan), her Diploma of Postgraduate Performance at the Royal Academy of Music (London) and her Master of Arts at the Haute École de Musique de Genève (Switzerland). Whilst and after her training in Switzerland, she freelanced frequently at the Geneva Chamber Orchestra and the Zurich Symphony Orchestra, as well as in various ensemble projects. She also taught school aged children and collaborated with amateur players of various levels and ages, which inspired her to pursue a teaching career. Based in Durham since 2018, besides Sage Gateshead she currently teaches violin in a primary school and privately.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

Sage Gateshead

Chris Hartley (Violin)

Chris received his degree in music from the University of Leeds before further developing his interest in music education on the Junior Strings Project at the Royal Northern College of Music. After completing his PGCE he worked in Harrogate as a secondary school teacher with a role in primary liaison music. He currently works full time as an Upper Strings teacher for Durham Music Service. Chris is an active violinist playing in the St Cecilia and Mowbray Orchestras.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

Sage Gateshead

Charlotte Kennedy (Violin)

Teaches on: Foundation and Step Up Programmes

Sage Gateshead

Jo Keithley (Violin)

Jo is originally from Durham, she studied in London and gained a first class degree at Trinity College of Music and a Masters of Music at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since then Jo has an active and varied freelance musical career, working with orchestras such as the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, and London Concert Orchestra, and she is also a qualified Early Years Teacher. When not playing in orchestras or teaching, Jo can be found playing with the DJ, Anchorsong, in venues and at festivals across the UK and Europe, running half marathons, and baking sourdough bread.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

Sage Gateshead

Ele Leckie (Cello)

Ele graduated from the Royal College of Music before training as a teacher at Durham University. She then moved to New Zealand, where she played in chamber concert programmes and Wellington Sinfonia in addition to teaching. On moving back to the North East she taught lower strings for Newcastle and Sunderland Music Services. She currently combines teaching on the Foundation & Step Up Strings Programme with teaching at Durham School and chamber and orchestral playing throughout the North East.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

Sage Gateshead

Jo Montgomery (Violin)

Teaches on: Foundation and Step Up Programmes

Sage Gateshead

Chrissie Slater (Viola)

Chrissie studied viola at the RNCM, graduating in 1999. After freelancing for a year with many of the country’s leading orchestras, Chrissie took up a post with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales lasting 6 years, before relocating to the North East.

She now plays regularly with Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) on a freelance basis as well as producing many of the orchestra’s concerts and events for children and young people in her role as RNS Learning Manager.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings

Sage Gateshead

Kay Stott (Musicianship)

Teaches on: Foundation and Step Up Programmes

Sage Gateshead

Hannah Tattersfield (Violin)

Hannah completed her undergraduate studies in Music at Newcastle University in 2013 before embarking on a career as a freelance teacher and violinist in the North East. In 2015, Hannah joined the Swedish National Orchestral Academy in Gothenburg where she trained for two years as an orchestral violinist with Øyvor Volle and Marja Inkenen-Engström. Whilst in Sweden, she taught alongside Venezuelan conductor, Ron Davis Alvarez, on several El Sistema projects and, upon returning to Newcastle in 2017, she joined Sage Gateshead’s In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead programme. Hannah is very active as a performer and plays regularly with a variety of ensembles, as well as teaching violin and viola in schools and music centres in the area.

Teaches on: Foundation Strings and Step Up Strings