The Sage, Gateshead is a brand new centre for music in the North-East of England, it is part of the ongoing rejuvenation of Newcastle and Gateshead as they bid for European Capital of Culture 2008. The building itself is a massive shell like structure overlooking the Tyne, a few hundred metres from The Baltic, its art counterpart. It stands on the South Bank of the Tyne and overlooks Newcastle’s busy cityscape and the Millennium Bridge. Designed by the architect Norman Foster the Sage will features a 1650 seat concert hall, a 400-seat studio-space, a 25 room Music Education Centre, a Music Information Resource centre and a spectacular curved glass roofed concourse. The entire building ids fitted with state of the art technical facilities and should have superb acoustics throughout when it is completed in 2003.
The £70 million project is part funded and managed by Gateshead City Council, the Northern Arts Council and the Northern Sinfonia under the name North Music Trust. The Trust has also raised £11 million of pledges from local and national companies. The core facilitates public funding means any private funding can be fed straight into individual projects, something seen as an ideal way forward for this type of project. Companies can donate to the centre, and see a direct return on their investment, encouraging more donations for the publicity they receive.
The main aims of The Sage are “education and access”, they are providing a platform for local musicians to perform alongside national and international artists, trying to development enjoyment of music in the area. As well as promoting music for fun they will develop education, alongside The University of Newcastle they will run a Bachelor of Music Degree in Folk Music, a debatably wise choice of course but a step in the right direction. The Trust describes the Sage as a musical “Laboratory for the Nation” with a “one word mission statement: music.”