Northern Chords to showcase young classical stars

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A NORTH East chamber music festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary by teaming up with international classical stars as it launches its 2013 programme.

A North East chamber music festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary by teaming up with international classical stars as it launches its 2013 programme.

Northern Chords, which will take place from May 20-24, brings acclaimed young musicians from around the globe to the region to offer a refreshing take on classical music.

Founded by 24-year-old Gateshead-born musician Jonathan Bloxham, this year’s festival will present the very best young classical talent from as far afield as Canada, Estonia, Holland, Belarus, Israel and Norway.

The 2013 line up includes stars such as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Ben Johnson and Royal Overseas League winners The Busch Ensemble, as well as BBC Young Musician of the Year winner - clarinetist Mark Simpson.

The festival will include concerts around the region.

Performers will also be entertaining visitors to The Sage Gateshead with a series of free lunchtime performances on the main concourse over the course of the week.

Highlights will include Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicholas, to be performed at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral Newcastle on May 21. The piece is designed to be performed by professional musicians alongside amateur performers, and will be sung by tenor Ben Johnson and conducted by artistic director Jonathan Bloxham, with support from children’s choirs and young musicians from across the region.

Jonathan said: “As the music community is celebrating Benjamin Britten’s centenary this year, performing Britten’s work at Northern Chords 2013 will be a wonderful way of honouring this great composer, and will also highlight the message of Northern Chords – that classical music is for all.

“We’re thrilled to be honouring Britten’s intention of involving children’s choirs in the performance - especially as St Nicholas is most famous for being the patron saint of children. He was also the patron saint of travellers, which is definitely fitting, as there will be so many travellers making their way to the North East from around the world to perform this special piece.”

Further highlights include the festival’s Gala Concert at The Sage Gateshead on May 24, which will feature a world premiere by up and coming composer Freya Waley-Cohen and chamber works by Dvorak and Beethoven.

•For more information about the festival or to book tickets, visit: www.northernchords.com or call The Sage Gateshead Box Office on Tel. 443 4661.