BBC Proms first for the Sage

Self Esteem teams up with Robert Ames to kick off weekend proms festival at the Sage Gateshead.

By Patrick Barnham

Self Esteem

The first weekend Proms festival outside of London is being held at the Sage Gateshead this summer.

The event, running from July 21 to 23, includes family, orchestral and chamber concerts.

This year’s Proms is the debut of 2023 Mercury Award nominee Self Esteem, in a collaboration with Royal Northern Sinfonia and conductor Robert Ames.

On Friday evening (21 July) Self Esteem returns to Sage Gateshead after her incredible recent gig there, this time in a contemporary collaboration with Royal Northern Sinfonia and conductor Robert Ames. The vibe will be much more acoustic and orchestral in feel, showing a different side to her artistry. Support to be announced.

Self Esteem said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Sage Gateshead to play the first ever BBC PROMS FESTIVAL WEEKEND outside of London and to work with Royal Northern Sinfonia on some arrangements of my songs!”

Then on Saturday the Sage and GemArts Masala Festival present a late-night special of extraordinary music performed by two leading lights of the British jazz scene.

British-Asian clarinettist, composer and bandleader Arun Ghosh and his quintet deliver a passionate sound driven by soaring melodies, hypnotic rhythms and transcendental textures. Arun’s musical style takes a multi-era / multi-genre approach, where numerous strands of jazz join forces with a myriad of musical influences: from jungle to punk, blues to Bollywood . . . and beyond.

Arun Ghosh said: “I’m delighted to be returning to the iconic Sage Gateshead, playing music from my latest album Seclused in Light. We’ve performed here many times over the years, and always get a fantastic welcome. We’re a Northern band, playing an Indojazz style, a universal sound…and I feel honoured to be bringing this vibe to the BBC Proms.”

British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed and her quartet blur the lines between jazz and electronic sound design, bringing together the sounds of her mixed heritage in what has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. Her career is studded with high profile collaborations, which have seen her record and perform with the likes of Radiohead, Lee Scratch Perry, Transglobal Underground, Arturo O’Farrill, and Natacha Atlas.

Yazz Ahmed said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be performing with my band at the Sage Gateshead as part of this year’s BBC Proms and the Masala festival, especially as my previous concert at the venue took place during the 2020 lockdown where I presented my music to an empty hall! So I am very much looking forward to engaging with a real life audience this time! I am also delighted to be sharing the sounds of my mixed heritage, and telling the stories of the women I find inspiring, at this unique festival celebrating South Asian arts.”

Caption Dinis Sousa

Dinis Sousa

Principle Conductor Dinis Sousa and Royal Northern Sinfonia bring audiences a lively programme of Missy Mazzoli, Mozart and Brahms with one of today’s most exciting pianists Kristian Bezuidenhout on Saturday evening. Followed by another late-night Prom, this time a choral takeover celebrating the power of the human voice involving around 300 amateur singers from the chorus of RNS to the youth choir created a year ago to take part in Sage Gateshead’s first BBC Prom, VOTRE. The theme of night includes the world premiere of a new BBC commission by Kristian Arakelyan, set to poetry by Katrina Porteous, rooting the evening firmly in the North East.

Rounding out the weekend on Sunday 23 July, the shimmering-voiced counter-tenor Reginald Mobley and pianist Baptiste Trotignon take audiences on a journey through the African American spiritual. And CBEEBIES Ocean Adventure with RNS, conducted by Kwamé Ryan brings together an exciting varied selection of music with video and presenters to introduce many young people to their first live music experience.

Reginald Mobley and Baptiste Trotignon

Reginald Mobley and Baptiste Trotignon

In line with the Royal Albert Hall Proms experience the seats at stalls level will be taken out to allow bonefide promming to take place.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms added: “There is no other classical music festival in the world to match the range and breadth of the BBC Proms. It is the place where so many discover orchestral music for the first time – whether through a cornerstone of the classical repertoire, ground-breaking new work or collaborations with some of today’s most exciting artists. Our musical range in 2023 extends from Bach to Bollywood and geographically from Gateshead to Great Yarmouth as we continue to build on Henry Wood’s vision of ‘the best of classical music for the widest possible audience.”

Click here for tickets.

BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead

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