• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Royal Northern Sinfonia cements its hugely successful relationships with Principal Conductor Dinis Sousa and soon to be Artistic Partner Maria Włoszczowska

ByDave Stopher

Nov 1, 2023

Off the back of a wonderful weekend of the BBC Proms in the North East and the orchestra’s first international tour post-pandemic, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Dinis Sousa announce the extension of his role as Principal Conductor for a further three years.

Sousa took up the role in September 2021. This extension for a further three years takes the vibrant collaboration between conductor and orchestra through to summer 2027, spanning The Glasshouse’s 20th birthday in December 2024.

Sousa’s contribution to the programming of artists and repertoire, as well as concert formats, more regional touring and the developing partnership with the BBC has brought fresh energy to the orchestra.

This extension comes off the back of a hugely successful year for Dinis, including a tour of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with Orquestra XXI (of which Dinis is Founder and Artistic Director) which scooped up five-star reviews from The Times and Evening Standard. 2023 also saw Dinis lead the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in a tour of Berlioz’s Les Troyens to five of Europe’s most prestigious festivals, including debuts at Berlin Musikfest and Salzburg Festival and culminating at BBC Proms, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Some of the highlights of Royal Northern Sinfonia with Dinis Sousa in the coming season at The Glasshouse and across the region, include all of Schumann’s Symphonies and the deeply romantic Das Paradies und die Peri with a fantastic cast and the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia; the opening concert on Saturday 16 September featuring the world premiere of a new commission from Cassandra Miller entitled Swim alongside Elisabeth Leonskaja in Beethoven’s Emperor concerto; Brahms’ second piano concerto with Sunwook Kim alongside Justé Januliyté exquisite Elongation of Nights; Clara Schumann’s dazzling Piano Concerto with Isata Kanneh-Mason; Christian Tetzlaff in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor alongside Naomi Pinnock’s The field is woven; and a season finale which juxtaposes Steven Isserlis in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Kristine Tjøgersen’s Between Trees.

A renewed partnership with BBC Radio 3 will see four Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts broadcast across the season, including three with Sousa at the helm. The first of which, a world premiere for orchestra from Cassandra Miller will be broadcast on 26 September.

After the huge success of The People’s Requiem in 2022, Sousa will direct a further large scale project next year creating opportunities for people across the region to take part in more large scale works.

In the North, Sousa conduct the orchestra in its main hubs outside Newcastle Gateshead – Middlesbrough, Carlisle, Sunderland and Kendal.

In addition, together they will tour Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff and Bristol in February 2024.

In tandem, Royal Northern Sinfonia is delighted that the rapidly rising star, Maria Włoszczowska, will remain in the North East fundament. A superb solo violinist, outstanding orchestra leader and gathering acclaim for her performance direction, Włoszczowska is to become Artistic Partner in autumn 2024, a role which was created especially for her.

This new role with Royal Northern Sinfonia develops Włoszczowska’s influence on the programme, working closely with Sousa and Director of Classical and Royal Northern Sinfonia James Thomas, with a focus on directing, solo and chamber work, as well as continuing to lead the orchestra on occasion.

Włoszczowska’s artistry and unique approach have already been showcased across the whole region in repertoire ranging from Beethoven Symphonies and Mozart concertos to Bartók and contemporary composers.

In this coming season, audiences can see her in action directing Angela Hewitt in two Mozart piano concertos alongside his Prague Symphony, directing Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra with Timothy Ridout, and the ever-popular Royal Northern Sinfonia by Candlelight at Christmas

Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia & Classical Programme at The Glasshouse, James Thomas said:

“The relationship that Dinis and Maria have created with the orchestra is incredibly special so we’re really excited to be able to continue and develop that in the coming years.

We’ve achieved much together in a short space of time with audience numbers on the rise, new and renewed regional relationships, our first concerts together overseas and a hugely successful BBC Proms weekend at The Glasshouse. Extending Dinis’ contract and creating this new role for Maria allows us to plan more extraordinary musical experiences for audiences in Gateshead and further afield. It’s an exciting time for the orchestra and for classical music in the North-East!”

Principal Conductor of Royal Northern Sinfonia Dinis Sousa said:

“Over the last two years I’ve had some of the most thrilling and memorable musical experiences of my life with this orchestra. Their collective spirit of constant curiosity and risk-taking is so inspiring, and the bond we have formed in these two years on and off the stage as been truly special. I’m so happy that we will continue to develop this relationship over the course of the next few years.

I’m also really excited that Maria will become our Artistic Partner. Maria is one of the most extraordinary musicians around, and her work with the orchestra so far has been remarkable. We are delighted that she will continue to work with RNS and help shape its future.”

Soon to be Artistic Partner and current leader of Royal Northern Sinfonia Maria Włoszczowska said:

“I am delighted to join the artistic leadership of Royal Northern from autumn 2024. It has been wonderful getting to know the musicians, management, staff and our audience, who all have given me such a warm welcome, over the past two seasons as Leader, and I look forward to developing these relationships even further as Artistic Partner. There is something truly special about this ensemble and its players, who are all exceptional individual musicians, always willing to give it their all and going above and beyond in service of the music.

I am also thrilled to continue working alongside Dinis Sousa. We have collaborated in different formations for some years now and I couldn’t wish for a more open-minded, honest and consummate musical partner.”