Jun 21 2012

Northern Chords Festival June 25th – July 1st 2012

Young musicians tune up for Northern Chords Festival 2012 

Notos Quartet

Internationally acclaimed young musicians from around the globe will offer a refreshing take on classical music at a North East chamber music festival next week.

Northern Chords Festival 2012 will take place from June 25 – July 1, featuring young musicians from ten different countries, including stars such as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Ben Johnson and Royal Overseas League winners The Busch Ensemble.

The festival will bring the international music stage to local communities around the North East, including St Mary’s Church in Whickham, Morpeth Methodist Church and St Andrew’s Church in Corbridge, in addition to two concerts at The Sage Gateshead and a performance at St Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle.

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

Northern Chords, now in its fourth year, is the brainchild of cellist Jonathan Bloxham, from Gateshead, whose musical talent was encouraged from an early age by the Gateshead Schools Music Service.

Jonathan left the region at the age of 16, to study at the world renowned Yehudi Menuhin School, followed by the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Four years later, Jonathan wanted to give something back to the region that had encouraged his talent, and Northern Chords was born.

Jonathan said: “I always love to come back to the North East and I’m delighted to be bringing Northern Chords to the region for the fourth year running. The festival is rapidly establishing itself as one of the region’s most exciting musical events of the year, and this event is the biggest yet, with 11 concerts over seven days.

“The artists will perform a range of eclectic, vibrant, energetic programmes designed specifically to attract younger audiences to the festival.  We know from our past experiences that when school students see musicians only a few years older than them playing at such a high level, with such passion for the music they create, the students find it hugely inspiring.”

This year the festival is working with Gateshead Youth Orchestra on a project at St Nicholas Cathedral, and with Newcastle University to commission three new works that the young Frankfurt-based piano quartet, Notos Quartet, winners of London’s prestigious Parkhouse Award in 2011, will perform.

Duncan Reid, partner and head of corporate law at Watson Burton said: “Following the great success of the Northern Chords festival over the past three years, Watson Burton is delighted to once again take the role of principal sponsor.

“As a national firm with roots in the North East, we take great pride in supporting this unique event, which will believe epitomises all that is special about young enterprise in the region. The festival also raises money for Children North East widening the impact of its success in the region. This year promises to be bigger and better than the last and we look forward to see what the talented young artist has in store for us.” 

Gateshead Council, Travel Bureau, and The Hilton NewcastleGateshead are also sponsoring the festival, with further support being provided from The Sage Gateshead and the Tyneside Piano Company.

The festival will feature the ‘Northern Chords Young Musician of the Year Award’, sponsored by Newcastle University. This will be the third time the competition has been organised, and demonstrates the festival’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of musicians.

For more information about the festival, visit:, email or call The Sage Gateshead box office on 0191 443 4661.