The Sage Music & Art Gallery

 

The Sage Gateshead is a centre for musical education, performance and conferences, located on the South bank of the River Tyne.The venue is part of the Gateshead Quays development, which also includes the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.The centre occupies a curved glass and stainless steel building with views of Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides, the Tyne Bridge, and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Planning for the centre began in the early 1990s, when the Northern Sinfonia orchestra, with encouragement from Northern Arts, began working on plans for a new concert hall. They were soon joined by regional folk music development agency Folkworks, which ensured that the needs of the region's traditional music were taken into consideration; folk music is well-represented in the Sage's programme of events, alongside classical, jazz, acoustic, indie, country, world, electronic and dance. Practice spaces for professional musicians, students and amateurs were an important part of the provision.

The planning and construction process cost over £70 million, which was raised primarily through National Lottery grants. The contractor was Laing O'Rourke. The centre has a range of patrons, notably Sage Group which contributed a large sum of money to have the building named after it. Sage plc has helped supportthe charitable activities of The Sage Gateshead since its conception. The venue opened over the weekend 17 – 19 December 2004.
The Sage Gateshead is also available as a conference venue: for example it hosted the Labour Party's Spring conference in February 2005. In August 2009, the National Union of Students announced that their 2010 and 2011 National Conferences would be held at the Sage Gateshead.

The Sage Gateshead contains three performance spaces; a 1,700-seater, a 400-seater and a smaller rehearsal and performance hall, the Northern Rock Foundation Hall. The rest of the building was designed around these three spaces to allow for maximum attention to detail in their acoustic properties. Structurally it is three separate buildings, insulated from each other to prevent noise and vibration travelling between them. The gaps between them may be seen as one walks around inside. A special 'spongy' concrete mix was used in the construction, with a higher-than-usual air capacity to improve the acoustics.These three buildings are enclosed (but not touched) by the now-famous glass and steel shell. Hall One was intended as an acoustically perfect space, modelled on the renowned Musikverein in Vienna. Its ceiling panels may be raised and lowered and curtains drawn across the ribbed wooden side walls, changing the sound profile of the room to suit any type of music. Hall Two is a smaller venue, possibly the world's only ten-sided performance space. The building's concourse was designed to be used for informal music-making. Below the concourse level is the Music Education Centre, where workshops, community music courses and day-to-dayinstrumental teaching takes place.

The building is open to the public throughout the day[8]. Visitors can see rehearsals, soundchecks and workshops in progress. It has five bars, a brasserie, the"Sir Michael Straker Café", and "The Barbour Room" – a multi-purpose function room which holds around 200 people. There is also "ExploreMusic": a technologically well-equipped musical branch of Gateshead public library, stocking books, and current magazines covering all aspects of music, a CD library with listening posts, and computers with free internet access, subscriptions to music websites, and music software.

As well as performances by the Sage's chamber orchestra Northern Sinfonia, a number of influential visiting artists have performed at the Sage Gateshead, including The Acanto Quartet, Mitsuko Uchida, Angela Hewitt, Imogen Cooper, Martin Roscoe, Peter Donohoe, Elizabeth Watts, Emma Kirkby, Anthony Rooley, James Brown, George Clinton/Funkadelic, Lesley Garrett, Nancy Sinatra, Shawn Colvin, Goldfrapp, David Crosby and Graham Nash, The Cinematic Orchestra, Robert Plant,Morrisey, Bob Geldof, Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, Gilberto Gil, Mc Coy Tyner, Grace Jones and Elbow.



 

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