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Sage Gateshead

Archived: Chorus Director – Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia (Freelance)

Sage Gateshead seeks an outstanding, professional Choral Director to inspire, lead and develop Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia.

For 40 years Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia (CRNS) has been an integral, ever-present part of the Royal Northern Sinfonia musical family, drawing on talented and committed singers from across the North of England.  Choruses allow an orchestra to present the great, stand-out works from history: Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Passions and Haydn’s masses, and performances of these have formed the core repertoire for CRNS. However, the role of the Chorus in Sage Gateshead’s classical programme is altogether more ambitious, matching the breadth of repertoire of the orchestra itself.

Performances of the classics are frequently placed alongside modern masterpieces, and CRNS now regularly features in our Sage One and Sage Two series.  Former Royal Northern Sinfonia timpanist Alan Fearon founded CRNS and led it until summer 2014, playing a crucial role in the choral and vocal strategy at Sage Gateshead. The Chorus has worked with many guest conductors and with every Music Director since Rudolf Schwarz, the orchestra’s second Music Director, including 12 seasons with Thomas Zehetmair. From 2004 to 2012, renowned choral conductor Simon Halsey led the chorus as Principal Conductor Choral Programme. They performed for the first time with Lars Vogt in 2016.

Amongst the recordings the Chorus has made are Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ operas Sir John in Love and Riders to the Sea, as well as Bliss’ Pastorale, and Songs of Northumbria.

CRNS is made up of experienced, amateur singers from around the region.  Members come from all walks of life.  They are sharp minded and thrive on being challenged to attain professional standards.

Rehearsals take place at Sage Gateshead regularly on Sunday evenings and are scheduled throughout the year from Sept to June however when there is a gap in the performance schedule, there may be a corresponding gap in the Chorus rehearsals.

Job Role

To lead the performance and development of the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia (CRNS) and to support the development of a wider choral strategy at Sage Gateshead.

Prepare CRNS for all performance activity

  • Work closely with the Choral Manager to determine chorus numbers, performance materials, schedules and any other requirements
  • Liaise with guest conductors to integrate their artistic vision into the preparation of the chorus
  • Lead all CRNS rehearsals
  • Attend all rehearsals that are led by guest/titled conductors

Conduct and lead chorus projects as required for Classical and Creative Learning programmes

  • Conduct CRNS a cappella concerts
  • Occasionally conduct Royal Northern Sinfonia with CRNS for special projects
  • Lead occasional joint projects with CRNS and Quay Voices, in liaison with Quay Voices’ conductor
  • Lead occasional choral projects with guest external choirs and ensembles

Play a key role in the vocal and strategic development of the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia

  • Liaise with the Director, RNS and Classical Programme on strategic choral repertoire development
  • Proactively drive recruitment and lead on personnel selection with support from the Choral Manager.
  • Contribute to the wider choral strategy with advice and guidance for major choral projects and ideas

Be a leading advocate for the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia

  • Use contacts to raise the profile of the CRNS at a national and international level.
  • Seek performing opportunities for CRNS

Knowledge, Experience and Skills required:

  • Music Degree or equivalent. We expect the successful candidate to be a full-time professional musician
  • In-depth knowledge of choral repertoire and programming experience would be useful
  • Significant experience of preparing choruses for professional performances, with the ability to achieve very high-quality performance in an encouraging and enthusiastic manner
  • Liaising with professional and high-profile conductors, integrating their vision into the Chorus’s performance
  • Auditioning and recruitment of singers, providing constructive feedback reports
  • Directing both a cappella and symphonic choral concerts
  • Ability to create networks locally and nationally and maintain good contacts with choirs and singers. An existing choral network would be an advantage
  • Choral conducting or vocal leadership and expertise
  • Excellent communication and rehearsal management skills
  • Understanding of vocal coaching methods and techniques to draw the best results from amateur singers.

Contract details

Compensation: Freelance contract with a retainer commensurate with experience

Start date: Negotiable

Please view the full job description here

How to apply

Send your CV and a covering letter, which should explain why you think you are suitable for this position, to

Your covering letter should be no more than two sides of A4.

Deadline:  9am on Monday 6th January, 2020

Audition date: Sunday 26th January, 2020.  This will be a short working session with the chorus for shortlisted candidates. 

All applicants must be available for this date if they would like to be considered.

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