Royal Northern Sinfonia has always been an orchestra of the community and a busy touring orchestra as well. Now, as the new season is about to start, more than ever before it will be an orchestra in the community – with an exciting and surprising weekend of Mozart-themed ‘pop-up concerts’ around Newcastle and Gateshead.
With their new Music Director, Lars Vogt, at the helm, the orchestra will be turning up and tuning up in Gateshead’s Metrocentre (lunchtime, Saturday 12 September), Newcastle’s Eldon Square shopping centre and Newcastle’s Central Station (both during the day on Sunday 13th September). In a dramatic finale, they will appear at Tyneside Cinema (evening of Sunday 13th September) to perform in the Bar Café before a screening of the multi-award-winning film Amadeus.
This is just the first instalment in a series of events around town this season. There will be more pop-up events to follow. And at night, from Thursday 17th September, a newly-commissioned portrait of Mozart will mysteriously begin to appear at some unusual spots around the area. But it won’t be Mozart as we have all come to know him and that, says the orchestra, is true of the music they will be playing as well.
Because this season Royal Northern Sinfonia are ‘Reclaiming Mozart’ – getting away from our misconception of Wolfgang Amadeus as simply a “chocolate box composer” (as Vogt puts it), simply the composer of beautiful melodies and a comfortable figure whose untroubled visage appears on the famous Austrian Mozartkugeln chocolates and at tourist spots around Salzburg, while his music appears regularly on classical chillout CDs.
In the music and in the new portrait – and in some of the venues RNS will play as the season continues – the orchestra will be finding the complexities, and even the darkness. “The more you listen to him, the more you realise we’ve got Mozart wrong,” says Lars Vogt. Royal Northern Sinfonia – described by The Guardian as “one of the most daringly responsive Mozart orchestras in the country” – is primed to approach each one of these works as if it had been newly written. In bringing his music into the community, they’ll remind us that Mozart was, first and foremost, human – of flesh and blood, of joy and pain and, like all of us, never, ever simple.
I started NE:MM as a magazine back in August 2013 and took it online in March 2014. I have always had a passion for music, and a desire to help popularise music of the type I loved. That led me to promote as 'The Outsider' and 'Common People' until recently and who knows, the promoter bug may bite again soon. As I age I find my own tastes developing and so my enthusiasm now extends to classical, jazz/funk and metal, whereas it used to sit squarely in the pop/indie/folk box. I hope it's infectious and through the efforts of the many volunteer contributors to NE:MM I hope it helps you find new music that you can feel passionate about too.