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Opinion: Where music lives and grows

With Gateshead’s renowned music and cultural venue now known as The Glasshouse, managing director Abigail Pogson discusses the meaning behind the new moniker, the process of its creation and why its new identity won’t mean a shift in focus.

Across the 19 years since we flung open the doors of what is now called The Glasshouse, almost five million people have attended a gig here. 

We’ve given nearly two million lessons to young people. 

Royal Northern Sinfonia has toured the region many times, as well as four continents. 

And more than 1000 musicians have worked their way from starting out to sell-out performances, reaching global markets with our support. 

We may have changed our name, but we remain the same great place for music lovers – and lovers of all kinds of music. 

We led the way on bringing together amazing gigs and a huge programme of classes, as well as supporting the next generation of musicians to professional success. 

That leadership and impact has built us a worldwide reputation. 

We’re a place where anyone can create and celebrate outstanding music. 

And we are here for everyone, regardless of money. 

Bursaries are on offer across our classes and activities, ticket discounts are intrinsic, young people’s tickets are very popular, and our music pass for children born across the region ensures every youngster, regardless of their background, can get early access to music. 

We need to make sure our charity and identity are distinctive from the commercial facilities being built next door, in what will be the completion of a 25-year masterplan that started with the Millennium Bridge and the opening of Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. 

Our new name has been created by listening.

We asked about music’s importance and what it means to each of us. 

We used this to find a way of naming and describing us that embodies people’s sentiments, and reflects the growth and nurture that happens inside a glasshouse, as well as the glassmaking origins of our site.  

People told us music lives and grows here. And in a uniquely musical region, The Glasshouse exists to nurture, feed and celebrate that.

But these are just changes of words. 

We’ll still be doing all of the things we’ve done over the past 19 years, and the charity will remain true to its roots and ambitions.

And as we approach our 20th birthday, we’ll be reaffirming our ambitions for young people, continuing to bring great music to audiences across the region, supporting musicians from the North East and bringing down financial barriers so that access to, listening to and playing music is available as widely as possible. 

The hope of a new century runs as vibrantly through our charity and through our region as it did in 2004. 

We know the complexities and challenges which lie ahead for all of us will be better dealt with if we have the joy and creativity which music and culture bring to people, their communities and their places. 

Our charity, The Glasshouse International Centre for Music, will renew its efforts to make this a reality for everyone.

November 10, 2023

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Created by North East Times