The Northern Sinfonia will now be able to call itself the ‘Royal Northern Sinfonia’, it was announced this week.
The ensemble, resident at The Sage Gateshead, is the first orchestra to be honoured by the Queen in this way for 20 years.
Northern Sinfonia was founded in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1958 by Michael Hall. A full-time professional chamber orchestra, it moved into The Sage in Gateshead when the building was opened in 2004, and has been the resident ensemble there ever since.
Austrian conductor and violinist Thomas Zehetmair is the Royal Northern Sinfonia’s current music director. In a statement he said: ‘What a wonderful title! I am very grateful to Her Majesty for honouring these outstanding musicians. The North East of England has become an important place in my life, and to be part of the cultural blossoming of the region fills my heart with joy.’
Bradley Creswick, leader of Royal Northern Sinfonia said: ‘I and the other players were overwhelmed to hear the news. This is no doubt one of the proudest days in the history of the orchestra. it is a real affirmation of the music and work that we do. It’s a beautiful thing for it to be said “we value you, and the region and nation values you” and we trust our loyal audience will be just as proud because this is as much for them as it is for us.’