THE first ever BBC Proms in the Park in the North-East will be performed live from Gateshead's new Baltic Square arts centre later this year.

The event, which attracts more than a hundred million viewers worldwide, will take place on September 15 as one of the inaugural events of Music Centre Gateshead, presented by musicnorth.

The first half of the programme will feature a number of North-East performers - the Northern Sinfonia, the Northumbrian piper, Kathryn Tickell and her band, folk musician and co-director of Folkworks, Alistair Anderson, and the Sinfonia chorus.

The world famous conductor, Peter Oundjian, whose family roots are in Jarrow, will conduct.

During the interval, BBC 1 will feature highlights from Gateshead along with other Proms in the Park events in London, Cornwall and Liverpool.

The broadcast then goes live for the second half of the concert to the Royal Albert Hall when the audience in Gateshead will enjoy all the well-loved numbers of the Last Night of the Proms, such as Rule Britannia and Jerusalem relayed live on a giant screen. Northern Sinfonia in Gateshead and the BBC Symphony in the Royal Albert Hall will then perform Land of Hope and Glory live in perfect harmony - in a synchronised performance never attempted before.

A spectacular closing finale will be provided by outdoor event producers, Alan Hillary Events, responsible for most major outdoor productions across the region, including more than 20 breathtaking fireworks displays on Tyneside since 1980, such as New Year's Eve celebrations and both Tall Ships races.

It will be the first event in Gateshead's prestigious new Baltic Square, situated on the south bank of the new Gateshead millennium bridge. musicnorth is working in close collaboration with Gateshead council on this event.

Gateshead council leader, Coun George Gill, said: "This is just the first of many live events we will be having on Gateshead Quays. Baltic Square will be a tremendous venue for people to enjoy all sorts of music and entertainment, and what better way to launch it than by showing 100 million people worldwide how Gateshead is changing.

"Events like Proms in the Park are an international showcase for the talent we have in our region and will be a great boost for our bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008."

The concert will be the centrepiece of a weekend of live music-making on the square, providing an early insight into the mix of music that is integral to the development of the £70m music centre.

Mr Anthony Sargent, general director of Music Centre Gateshead, said: "We are really glad to have won this opportunity to put local artists and all the fantastic developments on Gateshead Quays in front of such a large world-wide audience."

As well as two of the region's best known musical ambassadors, Kathryn Tickell and the Northern Sinfonia, Proms in the Park from Gateshead will include a special duo performance by Alistair Anderson and the Sinfonia's leader, Bradley Creswick.

The Sinfonia will premier a number of new arrangements of traditional Northumbrian songs by its own David Haslam.

Financial backing will come from the Sponsors' Club for Arts and Business.

Newcastle and Gateshead are jointly bidding to become European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the proms event is being promoted as a good example of the dynamic way in which the region's culture is developing.

Tickets for the concert are £12, available on freephone 0800 9530070. Concert goers should note that it is a promenade event - standing only - but the venue is accessible to wheelchairs.

l Meanwhile, a somewhat more intimate Pick of the Proms is again planned at Raby Castle, near Staindrop, on Sunday, August 26.

Last Night of the Proms will comprise music by the Performing Arts symphony orchestra followed by fireworks sponsored by the Peugeot motor company.

Tickets in advance are £17.50 for adults, £12 for children aged five to 16, ring 0870 9020 003; on the day, £20 and £14 respectively. The grounds will be open from 5.30 for picnics and the concert will start at 7.30