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2014/15 Season & 10th Birthday Celebrations

Posted on 28 May 2014

“One of the most daringly responsive Mozartian orchestras in the country” (Guardian)

Celebrating 10 years since the opening of the magnificent Sage Gateshead, Royal Northern Sinfonia presents an inspiring new season of classical music that offers a dazzling array of international conductors and artists including the celebrated British pianist Paul Lewis performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, critically acclaimed harpsichordist and conductor Laurence Cummings conducting a series of concerts of Bach’s music, and clarinettist Julian Bliss marks the 150th anniversary of Carl Nielsen’s birth with a performance of his Clarinet Concerto.

Recognising the extraordinary output of Ludwig van Beethoven, Recognising the extraordinary output of Ludwig van Beethoven, Royal Northern Sinfonia will perform a complete cycle of his nine symphonies for the first time since its critically-acclaimed performances in 2008. In addition, the internationally acclaimed Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Ashkar will continue his marathon performances of Beethoven’s complete set of 32 Piano Sonatas, performed in Sage Gateshead’s Sage Two. will perform a complete cycle of his nine symphonies for the first time since its critically-acclaimed performances in 2008. In addition, the internationally acclaimed Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Ashkar will continue his marathon performances of Beethoven’s complete set of 32 Piano Sonatas, performed in Sage Gateshead’s Sage Two.

As has become customary at Sage Gateshead, Royal Northern Sinfonia will showcase the remarkable talent and versatility of its own members, with concerto performances by its adored leader Bradley Creswick (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto), the critically acclaimed principal flute Juliette Bausor (Mozart Flute Concerto in G major), principal cello Louisa Tuck (Sage Two recital), and the sinfonia’s co-leader Kyra Humphreys (Bach Violin Concerto). Members of Royal Northern Sinfonia are also heavily involved in the series of chamber concerts performed at Sage Gateshead’s Sage Two, where they will perform a varied programme of works ranging from Scarlatti to David Lang.

Making classical music a vital force on Tyneside, Royal Northern Sinfonia has played a central role in the region’s cultural life for over half a century. In that time, it has built an illustrous career through performing, touring, recording and broadcasting. Since 2004, Norman Foster’s Sage Gateshead, the sinfonia’s home next to the iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Baltic art gallery, has become a cultural beacon following the transformation of the Gateshead’s (and neighbouring Newcastle’s) breathtaking Quayside. Inside the gleaming, glass panelled building, Royal Northern Sinfonia continues to reach new audiences in the region, the UK and abroad by combining virtuoso performances with a distinctly personal approach to the music.

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Royal Northern Sinfonia 2014/15 Season Highlights

Saturday 20 September 2014 (Season Opening)

Lars Vogt conductor
Alissa Margulis violin

BEETHOVEN Overture: Egmont
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”


Thursday 9 October 2014

Laurence Cummings conductor/harpsichord
Kyra Humphreys violin
Mhairi Lawson soprano
Thomas Walker tenor
Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia

BACH Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major
BACH Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor
BACH Cantata No. 50 “Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft”
BACH Cantata No. 191 “Gloria in excelsis deo”
BACH Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major


Thursday 16 October 2014

Laurence Cummings conductor/harpsichord
Bradley Creswick violin
Mhairi Lawson soprano
Thomas Walker tenor
Matthew Brook Baritone
Juliette Bausor flute

BACH Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major
BACH Violin Concerto No. 2 in E major
BACH Cantata No. 211 “Schweigt stille”
BACH Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor


Sunday 21 December 2014 (10th birthday)

Thomas Zehetmair conductor
Francesco Piemontesi piano

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in B minor


Thursday 29 January 2015

Ainars Rubikis conductor
Hyeyoon Park violin

PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2
SIBELIUS Suite for Violin and Strings
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5


Thursday 12 February 2015

Mario Venzago conductor
Julian Bliss clarinet

PURCELL Fairy Queen: Suite
NIELSEN Clarinet Concerto
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73


Thursday 26 February 2015

Olli Mustonen conductor/piano
Richard Martin trumpet

SIBELIUS Pelleas and Melisande, Op. 46
SHOSTAKOVICH Concerto for Piano and Trumpet
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1


Thursday 19 March 2015

Richard Farnes conductor
Bradley Creswick violin

MOZART Symphony No. 32 in G major
TCHAIKOVKSY Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35
DVORAK Romance No. 1 in F minor, Op. 11
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”


Thursday 2 April 2015

Nicholas McGegan conductor
Elizabeth Atherton soprano
Diana Moore mezzo-soprano
Ben Johnson tenor
David Wilson-Johnson baritone

MAHLER Selection from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9


Thursday 16 April 2015

Lars Vogt conductor/piano

JANACEK Concertino
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
DVORAK Symphony No. 8 in G major


Thursday 21 May 2015

Bradley Creswick director
Juliette Bausor flute

FAURE Pavane, Op. 50
MOZART Flute Concerto in G major
SAINT-SAENS Odelette, Op. 162
MOZART Symphony No. 36 in C major, K425


Friday 12 June 2015

Jaime Martin conductor
Paul Lewis piano

BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”


Royal Northern Sinfonia

Founded in 1958, Royal Northern Sinfonia has been integral to the cultural life of the region and reached new heights with the opening of Sage Gateshead in 2004 as its world-class home. Joining as Music Director 12 years ago, Thomas Zehetmair has been the longest serving Director who has brought the orchestra greater prestige. Together they have received critical acclaim worldwide for their touring and recordings on their own label and with regular commercial releases on AVIE, Signum, Naxos and NMC. Zehetmair’s maxim to perform “as if the ink was still wet on the page” has fostered an urgency and freshness in the orchestra’s performances.

The Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary in 2008 was marked by a critically acclaimed cycle of Beethoven Symphonies. The orchestra has been since given equally lauded symphonic cycles by Schubert, Brahms and Schumann, the piano concertos of Beethoven and the complete Brandenburg Concerti by JS Bach, while continuing to explore the symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.

Royal Northern Sinfonia has worked with many of the most in-demand artists and conductors in the world, including Sir Mark Elder, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Gidon Kremer, Ian Bostridge, Pierre Laurent-Aimard and Heinz Holliger whilst 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. Performances of the most current composers are a regular feature of the orchestra’s work. A unique and extensive programme of chamber music celebrates the individual talent of Royal Northern Sinfonia musicians with performances in the intimate setting of Sage Two as well as regular solo and concerto performances by leading players in Sage Gateshead’s Sage One.

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 most recent invitations to perform at venues and festivals around the country and abroad – in addition to tours to Germany, Sweden, Portugal, Holland and South Korea as well as regular performances at the BBC Proms and most recently the 2013 The Rest is Noise festival at London’s Southbank.

The orchestra is broadcast on radio each season, in particular through their partnership with Classic FM, bringing prestige to Gateshead and its surrounding area. Above all, stunning musicianship, heartfelt commitment and endless ambition underpin Royal Northern Sinfonia’s raison d’etre.

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