It’s been an extraordinary journey for John Grant, from a point where he thought he would never make music again, or escape a life of substance abuse, to winning awards and accolades.
Forming the noir folk/country band The Czars in the mid ‘90s in Denver, the band had a moderately successful career before splitting in 2004. A five year break from music followed, before Grant released his first solo album, full of lush ‘70s FM alchemy, entitled Queen Of Denmark in 2010. In 2013 he released his second album, Pale Green Ghosts, to widespread critical acclaim and in 2014 toured the album with the Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as releasing a live album recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
His latest album Grey Tickles, Black Pressure was released in October 2015.
Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra, has built a distinctive reputation as a fresh-thinking and versatile orchestra. The orchestra was founded in 1958 by BBC musicologist and producer Michael Hall. The Queen bestowed the title of ‘Royal’ on Northern Sinfonia in 2013, recognising it as one of the UK’s finest orchestras – the first time any UK orchestra has been so honoured for over twenty years.
Under its longest serving Music Director, Thomas Zehetmair, RNS has taken a dedicated approach to stylistic excellence in all genres, and has developed an extensive and ambitious repertoire. All underpinned by Zehetmair’s maxim to perform “as if the ink was still wet on the page.” From 2014 he will become Conductor Laureate of the orchestra.
RNS has worked with many of the most in-demand artists in the world including Sir Mark Elder, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Ian Bostridge and Heinz Holliger, whilst also offering opportunities for the next generation of star conductors and musicians. The orchestra’s commitment to contemporary music is highlighted by frequent commissions and premieres, most recently by Simon Bainbridge, David Lang and John Woolrich.
Part of a vibrant programme of music at Sage Gateshead, the orchestra regularly collaborates with artists from other art forms including Sting, Pet Shop Boys, Joanna Newsom, Efterklang, Spiritualized, Lau and Raul Malo.
Performances in its landmark home are complemented by an extensive programme from the local region to the international stage. Residencies at the Aldeburgh Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival are among the many recent invitations to perform around the world, as well as regular performances at the BBC Proms.
RNS works with adults and young people across the region. Regular projects include premieres of student compositions, whilst the individual members play a key role in Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme and In Harmony project.