A MUSIC centre has announced a programme of live performances taking place over the next two months.

Sage Live 2020 is a seven-week series of live performances running from October 23 until December, which will also be live-streamed. These will be the first live music performances in the venue since it closed its doors in March this year due to coronavirus.

The concerts aim to present the very best of Sage Gateshead, and feature Royal Northern Sinfonia on Fridays and a series of contemporary musicians on Saturdays.

Royal Northern Sinfonia will perform well-known works from the classical repertoire alongside some lesser-known music, including a world premiere and Sage Gateshead commission from Kristina Arakelyan Fantasia on a theme by Ludwig van Beethoven and Jessie Montgomery’s inventive Strum.

A highlight for many will be the return of principal artistic partner Lars Vogt, with two performances of Beethoven’s mighty Emperor concerto. RNS is committed to showcasing the talent of underrepresented groups in its programming, joining a vital cultural conversation about the future of classical music.

Contemporary gigs include appearances from Kathryn Tickell in a bespoke curated show with her family, a rare solo show from songsmith Richard Dawson, and the chance to hear Mercury-nominated Lanterns on the Lake perform their critically-acclaimed album Spook the Herd.

The programme will be announced in phases with and the first three weeks of concerts going on sale to the general public on October. Sage Gateshead hopes to welcome both regular and new audience members and has designed the series with this in mind.

Sage Live 2020 features two performances each week, with a classical concert each Friday and a contemporary gig on the Saturday. Audiences have the option of booking a table on the concourse before each show, where they can enjoy a drink and free live music from the concourse stage.

An allocation of free tickets is available to all shows for health and social care workers and Gateshead residents attending for the first time.

The safety of artists and audiences is a top priority at the venue, with social distancing measures in place on stage, in the auditorium, and throughout all public areas. Concerts will be in Sage One, using only 300 of the 1,700 seats to ensure that households can be safely distanced.

During lockdown, Sage Gateshead launched a major fundraising campaign, Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance, which aims to raise £3m in the next three years in response to the urgent financial challenge posed by Covid-19.