Sage Gateshead and Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia Nominated for RPS Award for Lockdown Digital Project

Sage Gateshead and Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia’s digital commission ‘The World How Wide: a choral reimagining of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on the Theme by Thomas Tallis’ has been nominated in the Series and Event category in the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards. This creative digital project turned pandemic restrictions into a musical opportunity.

Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia recorded individual vocal parts in their homes throughout lockdown, arranged by Chorus Director Timothy Burke. Using the pandemic’s limitations as creative inspiration, they were able to create a new and exciting project turning one of Vaughan Williams’ best-loved and well-known pieces, the Fantasia, into an extraordinary digital choral performance.

This year’s RPS Awards are vibrant evidence of a profession that, faced with huge challenge, has never stopped raising people’s spirits when the nation needed it most. From star soloists including Nicola BenedettiElizabeth Llewellyn, and Abel Selaocoe to unsung heroes and amateur musicians, the shortlists tell a story of tremendous creativity, connectivity and resilience in this most challenging of years.

The World How Wide project featured community singers, from Quay Voices – Sage Gateshead’s mixed-voice youth choir – and the World How Wide Community Chorus, comprised of singers from Streetwise Opera, Gateshead Care Home Choir, Inspiration Choir, Felling Male Voice Choir, Ryton Choral Society, and many more, showcasing local talent.

A string quartet from Royal Northern Sinfonia recorded the original solo instrumental lines, and all recordings were combined to produce the final product.

Overall, the project involved 135 singers and 650 vocal recordings totalling over 20 hours, bringing together local singers during challenging and uncertain times.

Sage Gateshead and Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia are representing the North East and its inspiring creativity with this digital project which has highlighted community engagement and resilience.

RPS Chief Executive James Murphy says: “We are so pleased to reveal this year’s RPS Awards shortlists, collectively representing the astonishing hard work, generosity and goodwill of musicians throughout the pandemic.”

The 2021 RPS Awards take place at Wigmore Hall, London, at 7.30pm on Monday 1 November. The event will be hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham and RPS Chief Executive James Murphy.

The RPS Awards will also be filmed, and the recording will be available to watch on the RPS website from Tuesday 9 November. It will also be covered by BBC Radio 3.