You are here: Home News & Blogs Latest News The Results are in for Royal Northern Sinfonia's Grade-1-athon

The Results are in for Royal Northern Sinfonia's Grade-1-athon

Posted on 7 January 2015

The results are in for Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Grade-1-athon!

Six players from Royal Northern Sinfonia put their musical reputations on the line to raise money for Sage Gateshead’s 10th Birthday Appeal. The Appeal was launched in June 2012 by Arts Council England who set Sage Gateshead the target of raising £4 million by July 2015 in order to claim an additional £2 million in match funding to help secure the future of their work.

The players took up the challenge of a sponsored Grade-1-athon, where each learned and was examined in an instrument they have never played before.

Orchestra Leader and Principal Violin, Bradley Creswick, took on the bassoon. Other Royal Northern Sinfonia members who took part in the Grade-1-athon were violinists Jenny Chang, Jane Nossek and Iona Brown who learned the French horn, flute and clarinet respectively, flautist Eilidh Gillespie learned the viola and oboist Steve Hudson tackled the cello.

Orchestra members were presented with their new instruments on Saturday 3rd May 2014 during the Royal Northern Sinfonia Mozart Clarinet Concerto. Since then, they have taken part in a public mock exam event in Northern Rock Foundation Hall where they performed their exam pieces in front of an audience of 120 plus an expert panel of judges – Anthony Sargent, General Director of Sage Gateshead, Kyra Humphreys Royal Northern Sinfonia Co-Leader and violinist, and Margaret Huntington who is the Honorary Local Representative for Newcastle for ABRSM. The evening was compèred by the fantastic Alan Fearon. The players took their officially adjudicated ABRSM Grade 1 exams on Friday 12th December 2014 .

We are so proud and pleased to announce that all of the Royal Northern Sinfonia Grade-1-athon participants have passed their exams with Distinction! We knew they would do great but we are nonetheless so happy with their achievements. As well as learning their Grade 1 instruments they have also been tirelessly fundraising for the 10th Birthday Appeal. The grand total raised is a brilliant ££6981.71! Combined with the Arts Council match funding, that makes a £10,472.57 total towards our appeal.

Sage Gateshead is extremely grateful to the Grade-1-athon participants for taking part, all in aid of the 10th Birthday Appeal.


For more information, please contact:
Harriet Mayhew Marketing & Communications Manager
0191 443 4661 |


Opened in 2004, Sage Gateshead has established itself as an international home for music and musical discovery. Its concert programme runs throughout the year, attracting artists from across the world and incorporating all genres of music.

The venue, designed by Foster and Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia. This orchestra was founded in 1968 and received royal status from Queen Elizabeth II in June 2013. Sage Gateshead is also home to the North East’s longstanding Folkworks programme – formed in 1988 to promote and encourage the furtherance of folk music across the region. What’s more, Sage Gateshead runs many other musical education programmes, each enabling people of all ages and abilities to become involved in music. 70 per cent of the work of these programmes takes place outside of the venue and at the heart of local communities.

In June 2012, Arts Council England set Sage Gateshead the challenge of raising £4 million by July 2015 (in order to claim an additional £2 million in match-funding) to help secure the future of this important work. In December 2014, Sage Gateshead will celebrate its 10th Birthday, Its correspondent birthday appeal runs until the summer of 2015, and features a number of high profile concerts and celebrations. Each will help Sage Gateshead to meet the challenge set by Arts Council England and help to ensure that its work in the North East can continue.