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Classical And Contemporary Worlds Come Together As Royal Northern Sinfonia Rock Their 60th Birthday

August 2018

Sage Gateshead is welcoming three North East rock acts for a special performance with Royal Northern Sinfonia to celebrate the ensemble’s 60th anniversary.

On Friday 21 September, Maximo Park, Field Music and Martha Hill will perform their own music, specially arranged for the orchestra to start the birthday weekend of celebrations, and its 2018/19 season, with a bang.

Thorben Dittes, Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia and Classical Music Programme at Sage Gateshead said: “We are very excited to start the orchestra’s birthday celebrations with RNS Rocks. It will be a big thrill to hear these bands perform their greatest hits in lush orchestral arrangements, really showing just how versatile a 21st century chamber orchestra can be.”

Paul Smith, frontman for Maximo Park, said: “We’re really happy to be collaborating with a world-class orchestra, especially one based on our doorstep, in Gateshead.

“After having RNS play on our recent song, North By North East, it makes sense for us to try out some adventurous new arrangements that encompass the whole of our back catalogue. I’ve never liked the divisions between so-called ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultures, so this cultural cross-pollination is even more satisfying from that point of view.”

David Brewis, who founded Field Music with his brother Peter, said: “We’ve been incorporating orchestral instruments into our records from way back before our first album but we’ve always done it in a limited way. Left to our own devices we wouldn’t dream of hiring an orchestra! So this is an amazing opportunity to let our imaginations run wild and to take advantage of all of the colours and textures that a chamber orchestra has at its disposal. I think that if we do it right, it’ll sound as if those instruments were always meant to be there; like putting on your 3D glasses for a film you’ve only ever watched on the TV. It’ll be pretty exciting to hear what Maximo Park and Martha Hill come up with too. Hearing rearranged songs can give you an insight into how a composition has come together and which bits are deep enough to explore.”

In addition to RNS Rocks, the celebrations will continue with family fun at the Big RNS Kids’ Birthday Party, and the first performance from an ensemble featuring both disabled and non-disabled musicians, RNS Moves. The weekend rounds off with a Big RNS Birthday Gala, featuring works from Beethoven, Mozart, Prokofiev, Haydn, and more. Audience members will also be invited to raise a glass to RNS as the clock strikes midnight, welcoming in 24 September, the official anniversary day.

RNS Rocks will take place in Sage One on Friday 21 September at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from

Due to unforeseen circumstances we are sorry to announce that Du Blonde will no longer be performing this evening. We are delighted to announce that Martha Hill will be performing in her place.