Home  →  Royal Northern Sinfonia  →  Orchestra  →  Our Story

Our Story

230722 - RNS BBC Proms-103

Royal Northern Sinfonia is the orchestra of the North East and Cumbria, based at The Glasshouse International Centre for Music in Gateshead. They are the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra – 37 incredible musicians coming together to play awe-inspiring classical music by the world’s greatest composers, old and new.

Since their first concert in 1958, Royal Northern Sinfonia have built a reputation for vibrant, passionate music-making across the UK and beyond, representing the North East on a worldwide stage. In 2023, they headlined the first weekend-long BBC Proms festival to take place outside of London, travelled to South Korea for Tongyeong International Music Festival and became the resident orchestra in new concert series in Middlesbrough and Carlisle.

Royal Northern Sinfonia regularly collaborate with top conductors and classical stars, such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Benjamin Grosvenor and Dame Sarah Connolly, and have taken to the stage with pop legends Maximo Park, Sam Fender and Self Esteem. Highlights of the 2023/24 season include a Schumann symphony cycle with Principal Conductor Dinis Sousa, a UK wide tour with clarinettist Julian Bliss, the Big Bruckner Weekend at The Glasshouse and guest appearances from Elisabeth Leonskaja, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Christian Tetzlaff, Jess Gillam, Angela Hewitt and Steven Isserlis.

Royal Northern Sinfonia are working hard to make classical music more accessible and more inclusive. That means playing in more places across the North than ever before, championing new artists and new music, and encouraging musicians of all ages and stages to keep growing their skills – from sitting side by side with The Glasshouse’s Young Sinfonia to helping women conductors hone their skills with Royal Philharmonic Society.

The Royal Northern Sinfonia family also includes Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia, made up of over 80 non-professional singers from across the region, and RNS Moves, an inclusive ensemble of disabled and non-disabled musicians who create unique sound worlds inspired by classical and contemporary music.