THE region’s Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) has been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, ‘celebrating the outstanding, the pioneering and the inspirational in classical music’.

The chamber orchestra, which celebrated its 60th year in 2018, resides at Sage Gateshead, which opened in 2004. It performs more than 130 concerts each season, both at its home and across the region.

The RPS Awards bring together the UK’s musical profession, from superstars of the stage to unsung heroes engaging the nation with great music-making. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the prestigious awards.

RNS has been shortlisted in the ‘Ensemble’ category.

Its 60th anniversary opening weekend included the launch of a new inclusive ensemble RNS Moves, involving both disabled and non-disabled professional musicians. It also included ‘RNS Rocks’, a collaboration with indie rock bands Maximo Park, Field Music and Martha Hill. There was a huge children’s party and a three-part gala concert.

Other highlights from the season included launching a new minimal series at Wylam Brewery, a special photographic exhibition featuring audience members and commissioning three encores from British composers.

RNS takes its music across the region to the North West, Yorkshire and Humber offering people who would otherwise not have access to classical music the chance to see concerts or participate in music sessions in their area. They have staged dementia friendly performances, signed performances, relaxed performances and RNS Live! Concerts for schools.

Last year RNS reached a live audience of more than 95,000 people and reached an estimated four million through broadcasts.

Thorben Dittes, director of classical programme at Sage Gateshead, said: “During our 60th anniversary season we really strived to create new and interesting opportunities for people to experience our music, challenging ourselves and bringing audiences closer to the musicians.

“It is wonderful for our work to be recognised in this way and we are over the moon to be shortlisted for such an esteemed award.”

New RPS chief executive James Murphy said: “The RPS Awards are a fantastic chance for music lovers nationally to discover who has made an extraordinary impact in the last year, and who to follow in the years ahead. There are so many inspirational artists and initiatives to discover on this year’s shortlist, collectively illustrating the vibrant role classical music plays enriching the United Kingdom.”

Winners are announced at the RPS Awards on Thursday November 28, held for the first time at Battersea Arts Centre in London, and presented in association with BBC Radio 3.