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10 reasons why you should come to a classical music concert at Sage Gateshead

Posted on 11 September 2017

1. Royal Northern Sinfonia

Sage Gateshead was built to give Royal Northern Sinfonia a home, and alongside taking part in the Great North Run or braving a night out in Newcastle’s Bigg Market, hearing our orchestra perform in the world-class acoustics of Sage One is something every North Easterner should experience at least once.

Celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2018, RNS is the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra and has built a world-wide reputation for the North East. Whether they’re commissioning new music, collaborating with musicians such as Sting, Mercury Rev, John Grant and Spiritualized, or performing at the Edinburgh Festival, BBC Proms and venues and festivals in Europe and further afield, RNS’ distinct reputation for their fresh-thinking and versatility is evident in just about everything they do – and luckily for us, they’re based right here on the banks of the River Tyne.

2. ‘I know that piece’!

Everyone knows this feeling: You hear a piece of music, recognise it and can’t Google it to find out what it is because there are NO LYRICS.

From Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony (which may as well be renamed “Hovis”) to Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture (the love theme will be a particular highlight for fans of Wayne’s World or The Sims), as well as Debussy’s Clair de lune, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 (get them on Spotify!), it’s fair to say there’s loads of pieces in this year’s Classical Season that you will instantly recognise when you’ve heard it – even if you don’t know its name. And as all music-lovers know, there’s no better feeling than hearing a song that you love performed live.

3. It makes your brain work better

Speaking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, researchers at Northumbria Uni found that students answered faster and better when listening to Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ concerto than when they listened to the sadder ‘Autumn’ concerto, concluding that brain activity is improved when listening to pleasant and arousing stimuli.

Come along and see for yourself how classical music makes you think and feel emotionally – RNS and Julian Rachlin will be performing the ever-popular Four Seasons in Sage One on Friday 1 December.

4. World-class visiting orchestras

As well as RNS’ concerts this season, we can’t wait to welcome several internationally renowned orchestras and choirs, including The Sixteen, CBSO, The Hallé, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Opera North.

Our first visitors are the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, who’ll be making musical history with the North East premiere performance of Philip Glass’ new Symphony No.11, which was met with rave reviews at its world premiere at Carnegie Hall earlier this year.

They’ll also be performing Rachmaninov’s popular Symphony No.2, making the concert – as NARC so eloquently put it – “a jewel in the crown of Sage Gateshead’s upcoming programming”.

5. Amazing discounts

Here at Sage Gateshead we believe classical music is for everyone, but for those who need a bit of encouragement to get along to one of our concerts, we’ve come up with some great initiatives to help you save on the cost of tickets. Our package deal gives buyers up to 25% off, while Gateshead classical first-timers can come and hear their orchestra for free!

Under 30s can get tickets for certain concerts for just £5 – and even comes with a bottle of beer included. There are also discounts available for those aged 17 and under or unemployed. What’s not to like?

6. Great nights out

Classical music is often perceived as intimidating and informal – but it doesn’t need to be. OK, you might need to remember not to clap mid-way through a piece (although RNS Music Director Lars Vogt doesn’t really mind) but it can be great to step out of your comfort zone and do something that you wouldn’t normally do.

Our Nights Out series might be just the introduction to classical music you need. Come and hear music from Hitchcock’s Psycho at RNS Halloween Spooktacular, celebrate Gershwin and Bernstein at New York, New York, enjoy hit songs from hit musicals at Best of Broadway or relax to an evening of music from John Williams’ iconic soundtrack at Star Wars Spectacular.

7. Live film scores

We all recognise a great film score when we hear it in a cinema – so how incredible must it be to experience it performed live? Find out this December with our screenings of cult classic Home Alone – accompanied live by Royal Northern Sinfonia. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

Also to look forward to this December is our ever-popular screenings of The Snowman with Howard Blake’s magical score played live. One for all the family to enjoy!

8. Classical music for everyone

In a recent programme on Classic FM, journalist Aliette de Laleu argued the case for classical music being for everyone, stating: “It’s impossible that only one age group can appreciate this style of music – impossible.

“Classical music is the only genre to have developed over thousands of years. It is full of rebellious artists who were ahead of their time, and it’s the most modern musical genre.”

Classical music is also beneficial to young people, with studies suggesting it improves kids’ concentration and social skills, while also leading them to be appreciative of a wider range of music in later years.

Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Classics 4 Kids series returns on Saturday 4 November, giving families a unique opportunity to experience classical music in a fun, friendly and accessible way. Last year’s series proved really popular, with one audience member saying: “It feels like a door opened for me and the children into classical music” and another adding: “We loved it, never been to a classical event. So good.” Mission complete!

9. Debussy

If you think it’s exciting going to see a band play an album in its entirety, check this out: Philippe Cassard will be playing the complete piano works of Debussy in a single day to mark 100 years since the composer’s death.

That’s right. All the Études, all the Préludes, all the arabesques. In one day.

Seriously impressive!

10. It makes you feel better

There are lots of studies which show the positive impact classical music has, both mentally and physically. It eases symptoms of depression, increases brain wave activity, helps relieve pain, sparks creativity, improves productivity, reduces stress levels – and most importantly makes you happy.

Last year, Newcastle was named the happiest city in the UK in a European Commission survey. We’re putting it down to waves of classical music making its way across the Tyne!