Association of British Orchestras

The Glasshouse ICM

Contact details

The Glasshouse St Mary's Square Gateshead Quays Gateshead
Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra, has built a distinctive reputation as a fresh-thinking and versatile orchestra. Royal Northern Sinfonia was founded in 1958 by the BBC musicologist and producer Michael Hall. The Queen bestowed the title of ‘Royal’ on Northern Sinfonia in 2013 recognising it internationally as one of the UK’s finest orchestras – the first time any UK orchestra has been so honoured for over twenty years. Under its longest serving Music Director, Thomas Zehetmair, Royal Northern Sinfonia has taken a dedicated approach to stylistic excellence in all genres and has developed an extensive and ambitious repertoire. Core classical music remains at the heart of the programme whilst precision, excellence and deep musical understanding are equally applied to its chamber, contemporary, light music and cross-genre performances. All performances are underpinned by Zehetmair’s maxim; to perform “as if the ink was still wet on the page.” Royal Northern Sinfonia has worked with many of the most in-demand artists in the world including Sir Mark Elder, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Gidon Kremer, Ian Bostridge, Pierre Laurent-Aimard and Heinz Holliger, whilst also offering opportunities for the next generation of star conductors and musicians. The orchestra’s commitment to contemporary music is highlighted by frequent commissions and premieres, most recently by Simon Bainbridge, David Lang and John Woolrich. Part of a vibrant programme of music at Sage Gateshead, Royal Northern Sinfonia takes regular opportunities to collaborate with artists from other art forms including Sting, Pet Shop Boys, Joanna Newsom, Efterklang, Spiritualized, Lau and Raul Malo. Performances in its landmark home are complemented by an extensive programme of activity in the local and regional community as well as nationally and internationally. Residencies at the Aldeburgh Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival with Thomas Zehetmair are among the many recent invitations to perform at venues and festivals around the country and abroad, as well as the regular performances at the BBC Proms and involvement in the 2013 The Rest is Noise festival at London’s Southbank. Royal Northern Sinfonia continues to contribute to the cultural life of the region through its work with adults and young people alike. Performances for families and schools, gala concerts with community choirs and workshops and premieres of student compositions are regular projects whilst the individual members play a key role coaching and mentoring in Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme and In Harmony project.

Annual Conference

The next ABO conference will take place in Gateshead,
hosted by The Glasshouse ICM, from 5-7 February 2025.