Contact Card

Northern Sinfonia

Music Director:
Thomas Zehetmair

Address: The Sage, Gateshead,
PO Box 254, Gateshead

Tel: 0191 443 4666
Fax: 0191 443 4500





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Northern Sinfonia

Northern Sinfonia is a chamber orchestra founded in 1958 and based in the North East of England. Thomas Zehetmair joined the orchestra as Music Director in September 2002. Northern Sinfonia has built a reputation for high standards of performance and flexibility of approach over a wide repertoire. The Sinfonia’s work includes concerts with its Music Director and other distinguished visiting musicians including Sir Roger Norrington, Evelyn Glennie, Yuri Bashmet, Thierry Fischer and Tasmin Little. The Sinfonia’s programme also includes concerts designed specifically for a variety of venues and for different times of day: The Late Mix, Rush hour and Lunch time concerts have all become important strands of the Sinfonia’s work.

In 2001 Northern Sinfonia became wholly integrated into the North Music Trust who will programme and manage the orchestra and its new multi-million pound Foster & Partners designed home, The Sage Gateshead. On completion in 2003, The Sage Gateshead will provide concert halls of acoustic excellence, performance and rehearsal spaces and a new music education centre.

Recordings and broadcasts form an integral part of the orchestra's work. Northern Sinfonia has won the Classic CD awards for the Best Concerto Recording and Living Composer award. Recent releases have included Vaughan Williams’ ‘Sir John in Love’, ‘English Guitar Concertos’ and Finzi’s ‘Cello Concerto’, which have received great critical acclaim.

Complementing concert activity, the Sinfonia’s wide-ranging community and education programme features activities from participatory projects to performances for people of all ages and for people of all musical abilities. Northern Sinfonia also has an associated award-winning youth orchestra, Young Sinfonia providing unparalleled opportunities for talented young musicians. The Sinfonia is joined for both performance and recording by The Sinfonia Chorus.

Thomas Zehetmair, Music Director

Thomas Zehetmair joined Northern Sinfonia as Music Director in 2002. Born in Salzburg, Thomas Zehetmair was taught by his father at the Mozarteum, and later completed his studies with Franz Samokyl, Max Rostal and Nathan Milstein. Following an early debut at the Salzburg Festival, and as a recording artist, he now enjoys a successful international career. He is a regular guest of major orchestras in the US and Europe including the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, the Berlin, Munich and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. The many distinguished conductors he has worked with include Daniel Barenboim, Franz Brüggen, Christoph von Dohnanyi, John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolas Harnoncourt, Heinz Holliger, Sir Roger Norrington, Simon Rattle and Esa Pekka Salonen.

Renowned for his eclectic tastes as well as his musicality and virtuosity, Zehetmair performs with ‘period’ as well as modern orchestras, and considers the performance of contemporary music and chamber music as essential elements of his artistic activity. He has given a number of first performances, most recently of the violin concertos written for him by Heinz Holliger, James Dillon (Royal Albert Hall, London, as part of the 2000 BBC Proms) and Hans-Jürgen von Bose. In 1997 he formed the Zehetmair Quartet, which undertakes annual tours and festival engagements including Berlin, Edinburgh, Helsinki, and Schleswig Holstein. Their first recording for ECM is of the first Quartet of Karl Amadeus Hartmann and the Fourth Quartet of Béla Bartók.

Thomas Zehetmair has recorded the major violin repertoire on CD. His recording for EMI Classics of the Szymanowski Violin Concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle won a Gramophone Award in 1997.

The Sage Gateshead

The Sage Gateshead is a new creative powerhouse developed in a Lottery bid in the late 1990s from a four way partnership between Northern Sinfonia - the region’s professional chamber orchestra; Folkworks - the acclaimed producers, presenters and teachers of folk and traditional music, Northern Arts and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council. The new Trust that has emerged, North Music Trust, is formed from the merger of two of these founding partners, Northern Sinfonia and Folkworks. Under its General Director, Anthony Sargent, this unique model of arts management aims to make a decisive contribution to the musical life of Britain.

Due for completion in 2003 Foster & Partner’s magnificent concert halls and music school on the south bank of the Tyne will offer performance, participation and education opportunities. It will present international and local artists from all musical disciplines in the 1650 seat concert hall and flexible 400-seat auditorium, music education centre and other spaces for rehearsal, hospitality and conference use.

The Sage Gateshead will also be a centre for lifelong musical discovery, providing formal and informal music education at all levels and an extensive music information service. The Sage Gateshead, together with Newcastle University, has developed England’s first folk music degree.The Sage Gateshead has an overall project budget of £70 million, which has already attracted £60 million investment – including major capital and revenue from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, the Arts Council of England, the National Lottery and Northern Arts. North Music Trust is currently raising an endowment to further increase opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds to perform, listen, learn and participate in all musical genres. The Trust has recently passed its first milestone of £10m set for 2006, with endowed funding currently standing at £11.35m.




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