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Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia

Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia is a vital part of the Royal Northern Sinfonia musical family, based at The Glasshouse International Centre for Music in Gateshead. They shine in the great choral masterpieces by Handel, Haydn and Mozart, excel with contemporary classical music by today’s brightest composers, and bring film scores to life at live screenings of Hollywood blockbusters such as Home Alone, Hocus Pocus and Star Wars.

They perform with Royal Northern Sinfonia several times a year and classic choral masterpieces like Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Magnificat are the foundation of their exciting, vibrant programme. Highlights of the 2023/24 season include a birthday celebration featuring five contemporary pieces from the last five years alongside Mozart’s Requiem, Schumann’s forgotten oratorio Die Paradise und die Peri and Bruckner’s Mass No. 3 as part of The Glasshouse’s Big Bruckner Weekend.

The Chorus also enjoy new contemporary music, giving the world premiere of All My Ships Are White by Sarah Lianne Lewis in July 2022, commissioning A blue and tender flower by Kerensa Briggs to mark their 50th anniversary in October 2023 and including Eleanor Cully-Boehringer’s Snow on Snow in festive concert tour A Choral Nativity.

Beyond the concert hall, they regularly perform on their own across the North East and Cumbria, and collaborate with other local musicians, such as Gateshead Care Home Choir. Through the difficult COVID-19 lockdowns, they kept on singing at home and created the award-winning digital experience The World How Wide – a beautiful choral reworking of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

Founded in 1983 by Royal Northern Sinfonia’s timpanist Alan Fearon, the Chorus currently has over 80 members from all walks of life and all across the North East. New members are welcome to join at any time, email chorusrns@theglasshouseicm.org to find out more and arrange to come to a rehearsal or two before auditioning with Chorus Director Tim Burke.


Tim Burke, Chorus Director

Born in Kingston upon Thames, Tim learned violin and piano from an early age and sang as a Choral Scholar at HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, and read Music at Exeter College, Oxford, before training as a repetiteur at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and winning the Sir Henry Richardson Scholarship to study at the National Opera Studio.

He went on to join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in 2006, working as a repetiteur for Sir Colin Davis and Sir Charles Mackerras amongst others, and from 2008 until 2013 was Chorus Master at Opera North, where he worked with conductors including Sir Richard Armstrong, Richard Farnes and David Parry.

A passionate believer in the importance of new writing, he has, since 2013, been the Music Director at Tête à Tête, producer of the world’s largest festival of new opera, where he has premièred eleven new commissions, including Kerry Andrew’s Dart’s Love, winner of the Stage Works category of the British Composer Awards 2014.

His opera conducting engagements have further included La Fanciulla del West for Opera Holland Park, Le nozze di Figaro for Scottish Opera, Le nozze di Figaro and Tosca for Welsh National Opera, Christmas Eve for Chelsea Opera Group, The Barber of Seville for Opera North, Die Fledermaus for Riverside Opera, Patience for English Touring Opera, People Watch for Streetwise Opera, La traviata for Lyric Opera, Dublin, Dr Ferret and the Bad Medicine Roadshow for the Opera North Youth Company, Tell Me The Truth About Love for Streetwise Opera and Wonderland Restored for Opera North’s Big Sing. He has also conducted Les enfants terribles for the Royal Ballet at the Barbican Hall and Will Tuckett’s The Wind in the Willows for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

His work on the concert platform has included The Night Before Christmas and Rachmaninov’s Vespers at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds, St Nicolas, Messiah (excerpts) and Der Ring des Nibelungen (excerpts) with the Orchestra of Opera North, the Opening Gala of the Bradfield Arts Festival 2015 with members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the 2017 Summer Prom with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Opera Classics, Summer Classics with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, the Great Song of the North with Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland and RNS @ Wylam (Music by John Adams, Philip Glass and Michael Nyman) with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

His recent engagements have included Jules Maxwell’s The Lost Thing for the Royal Opera, London, Il barbiere di Siviglia for Lyric Opera, Dublin, Pierrot Lunaire for the Manchester Collective, The Gondoliers and The Yeomen of the Guard for the National Gilbert and Sullivan Company, Will Todd’s Wonderland Restored for Opera North’s Big Sing, The Emperor of Atlantis for Bold Tendencies and Façade with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

The World How Wide

Find out more about Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia’s exciting digital commission for 2020.

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