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No musical hierarchy at The Sage.

Byline: By David Whetstone

There is to be no musical hierarchy at The Sage Gateshead, no debate about what genre is more worthwhile than another.

One man band Peter Moser, who plays 139 instruments at once, even if 130 of them are bells, said: "It's fantastic. Hopefully we'll hold a one-man band festival here in future. We have one in Morecambe already but I'd like to have one here."

The Northern Sinfonia, the chamber orchestra founded on Tyneside over 40 years ago, is to be the resident "band", performing regularly in the bespoke Hall 1 with its 1,700 seats. Mike Gerrard, the Sinfonia's principal viola player, rehearsed in the hall yesterday afternoon and then performed for its first audience during the evening. "It's absolutely fantastic," he beamed. "In recent months we've played in a lot of the best halls in Europe, in Amsterdam, Vienna and Berlin, in Cologne and Munich, and we've got a hall here that competes with all of them. Actually, the way it has been designed, I think it's the most beautiful hall. It will make a big difference to us, just as having Thomas Zehetmair as music director has made a big difference."

One-time Sinfonia trumpeter Clarence Adoo, who was paralysed in a car accident several years ago, is now the orchestra's animateur.

Last night he spoke of Hall 1's extraordinary acoustics. "I listened to the orchestra and I could hear every element of it. And when the Northern Sinfonia Chorus was performing you could hear every word, and there was a soprano soloist singing above them and she was perfectly audible too."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2004
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