Monday 19 September – Saturday 10 June 2023A musical celebration of the Lindisfarne Gospels coincides with their return to the North East for the first time in 20 years and inspired the season’s theme: Music and Spirituality
Soloists include: Jeremy Denk, Anastasia Kobekina, Paul Lewis, Timothy Chooi and Pablo Ferrandez
Artists in Focus are Benjamin Grosvenor and Dame Sarah Connolly
Conductors include: Edward Gardner, Gemma New, and RNS Principal Conductor Dinis Sousa, Roberto Gonzalez-Monjas, Alpesh Chauhan and Sir John Eliot Gardner
Conductor Gemma New and featured soloists Cristina Matteo and Charlotte Ashton join forces for a powerful recital
Sage Gateshead welcomes returning orchestras from further afield including the London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Coverage Briefing

A beacon for the best in classical music in the North East, Sage Gateshead is delighted to announce the programme for its 2022-2023 classical season, featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia in some of its most exciting collaborations to date.
Opening night on Saturday 17 September sees one of America’s most prolific pianists, Jeremy Denk join RNS’ principal conductor Dinis Sousa, performing firm classical music favourites including Ives, Beethoven, Kurtág and Mozart. Jeremy Denk performs Beethoven’s most personal piano concerto and Charles Ives and György Kurtág tie into the season’s theme of music and spirituality – exploring life’s big questions.
The Lindisfarne Gospels are being displayed at Laing Art Gallery for the first time in a decade this autumn. Coinciding with the spectacular, illuminated, ancient manuscript being back on display in Newcastle, conductor James Weeks Royal Northern Sinfonia and one of Britain’s greatest living vocalists – Dame Sarah Connolly – come together to explore centuries of spirituality in sounds, words and images. Artwork from the Gospels accompanies music that spans a millennium, from the timeless inspiration of Hildegard of Bingen and the sacred beauty of Purcell to the ravishing sounds of the late John Tavener.
Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet is the gloriously passionate opening to this concert from the London Philharmonic Orchestra under its new Principal Conductor Edward Gardner. Elgar positively burned with poetry, imagination and tenderness: all the ingredients of the enchanting musical portraits that make up his Enigma Variations. And in between the superb British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor joins in the fantasy and fireworks of Mendelssohn’s glittering First Piano Concerto.
Dinis Sousa returns to the podium on 14 October, conducting RNS and one of the younger generation’s most exciting cellists, Anastasia Kobekina in a programme featuring gorgeous renditions of Saariaho’s Nymphea Reflection, Schumann’s Cello Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No.8.
21 October sees a strong line-up of female performers take to the Sage Gateshead stage. Leading RNS is Gemma New, principal conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. They are joined by two of RNS’s new Section Leaders who step into the limelight, clarinettist Cristina Mateo and flautist Charlotte Ashton. The programme features work by Barber, Stravinsky, Copland and Ibert.
Sage Gateshead welcomes the Belgian National Orchestra on the 5th November to play César Franck’s extraordinary Symphony in D minor – for decades, one of the world’s most popular classics. Featuring the stylish conducting of Roberto Gonzalez-Monjas this great Belgian symphony will make a magnificent showcase for Belgium’s national orchestra. Joining them is internationally renowned pianist Paul Lewis to perform the timeless classic, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1.
There’s more Tchaikovsky to enjoy on 11 November as Young Italian-Turkish conductor Nil Venditti leads RNS alongside violinist, Eldbjorg Hemsing playing Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular Violin Concerto. Mozart’s comedy overture sets things buzzing, before Venditti launches into a joyous, no- holds-barred adventure through the folk music of Eastern Europe and Turkey from Bartók, Brahms and Fazil Say.

RNS conductor laureate Thomas Zehetmair appears alongside RNS on 25 November, featuring Ruth Kilius in a programme which includes Walton’s smouldering Viola Concerto. The concert also features Vaughan William’s Symphony no.2 ‘A London Symphony’, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth.
In a programme sure to be highly popular with Sage Gateshead audiences, Sir Mark Elder and The Hallé bring their legendary partnership on 2 December to give a rousing performance featuring Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde and Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance by Barber as well as excerpts from Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky.
Kicking off the new year, Sage Gateshead favourites the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra comes to the North East on 20 January, joined by its chief conductor Domingo Hindoyan and featuring star violinist Timothy Chooi for Bruckner’s huge and poetic Symphony No.4 ‘Romantic’ and Bruch’s tuneful postcard from the Scottish Highlands.
On 27 January, Principal Artistic Partner of RNS, Lars Vogt begins the year with a concert that positively glows with melody and warmth. Dvořák was a composer who never hid his emotions, and two gloriously tuneful mini-masterpieces complement Mozart’s majestic homage to Bach and the lovely, lyrical Piano Concerto No. 23. A joyful treat to begin 2023.

The 3rd February brings the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia into the mix with RNS conducted by Nicholas McGegan performing Bach’s exuberant Magnificat as well as Vivaldi’s jubilant Dixit Dominus and Caroline Shaw’s Is a Rose.
Another intoxicating selection of music comes courtesy of Alina Ibragimova, directing RNS on 17 February with such searing pieces as Jennifer Higdon’s Solilogquy and Schnittke’s Moz-Art à la Haydn. Alina comes hot off the heels of her recording of Paganini’s 24 Caprices which topped the classical album charts on its release.
In a hugely exciting collaboration, RNS Moves, Sage Gateshead’s inclusive ensemble of disabled and non-disabled musicians joins forces with BSO Resound, a professional disabled-led ensemble from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on 3 March. Conducted by Dinis Sousa and joining Royal Northern Sinfonia, this programme features a new commission from Kate Whitley and works by Sibelius, Ligeti and Kodály.
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is led by Alpesh Chauhan on 10 March, with Pablo Ferrandez’s impeccable stylings on the cello. Playing Strauss’s light hearted Don Quixote and Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5, Associate Conductor Chauhan is sure to draw out the black humour as well as the profoundly moving qualities of the latter.
On 6 April, marking Easter, it’s the turn of the English Baroque Soloists to take to the Sage Gateshead stage, joined by the Monteverdi Choir and led by Sir John Eliot Gardiner on the podium in a first-class rendition of Bach’s Mass in B minor.
A trio of classical superstars Nicola Benedetti, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Artist in Focus Benjamin Grosvenor – come together with Principal Conductor Dinis Sousa for Beethoven’s sunny Triple Concerto. The evening opens with award- winning Swedish composer Britta Byström’s miniature Walk to Beethoven and ends with Mendelssohn’s Symphony Number 4 expressing his love of Italy.

Sarah Connolly returns for her second appearance of the season on 28 April, with Dinis Sousa. At the very heart of this concert are Mahler’s heart-rending Rückert-Lieder, five unforgettable songs that probe the deepest mysteries of life, art and love, sung today by one of their greatest living interpreters: the incomparable Dame Sarah Connolly.

Leader of RNS, Maria Wlosczcowska will blow audiences away on 12 May, joining RNS to perform work from Bartók and Beethoven. Maria’s versatile musicianship won her both First Prize and Audience Prize at the XXI Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition.
For an all-Scandanavian repertoire, look no further than Nordic Symphonies on 26 May where guest conductor and pianist, Olli Mustonen and RNS unleash a torrent of great work from Scandi composers such as Sibelius, Grieg and Nielsen.
Closing out the season in style on 10 June, Andreas Ottensamer, principal clarinettist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra makes his Sage Gateshead debut with Dinis Sousa performing works by Martinu, Brahms and Dvorák.
The regular concert buses from Alnwick, Hexham and Carlisle are on, as are Live Streams. Young people can come for £5, as can 18-30s, and anyone in the North East can come for free if it’s their first time.
The classical music programme sits alongside a diverse offer of gigs from artists and bands across all genres, a huge array of music classes – from ukulele, to pop singing and sessions for under 5s – and support for artists. More information can be found at
Thorben Dittes, Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia said: “We are so thrilled to bring you a whole season of Classics, to which you can subscribe and enjoy a full year of music with us. Dinis Sousa’s second season is packed full of gems.”
“Our theme of Music and Spirituality links to the Lindisfarne Gospels’ visit to the region and we feature Artists in Focus Dame Sarah Connolly and Benjamin Grosvenor through the season. We also mark the anniversaries of Ralph Vaughan Williams and César Franck through performances of major symphonic works and we are particularly excited to share a commission of a major new work by Kate Whitley.”