The Experience

The experience of seeing and hearing a chamber orchestra is one of connection. Connection between musicians responding to and sharing musical ideas; connection between our audiences and the musicians striving to reach them; and connection between the present day and the past.

Within an orchestra like RNS, musicians are given the freedom to express their creative interpretations and emotional responses to great music. In collaboration with conductors or soloists, they make music for the audiences sharing the experience with them.

We will explore how to share, explain and understand the experience of chamber orchestra performance.

Interactive Score

Have you ever imagined playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto yourself? Now is your chance, with our interactive score. Just click through, and follow the simple instructions to give the performance of a lifetime.


The Experience - Alice

Experiencing chamber music live is to experience emotional connection; both with the music and with the players. Watch our Audience Portrait for a window into the world of one audience member’s love of classical music.


The Experience - Lars

The connection that exists between an orchestra and their conductor is difficult to define. Watch our Conductor Portrait to find out how it feels to be messenger for the composer.


LONG READ: Tuning in with your eyes, motor cortex and mind

How do our brains process live classical music performance? Does science hold all the answers, or are there still factors we cannot explain? Find out in this article from Dr Diana Omigie.


To capture the essence of how music makes us feel, we commissioned a series of audience portraits. Scroll through to share in the audience experience.


Adjami chose to listen to Mozart’s Symphony No.40, Mvt 1, as she loves music from the Classical period. Adjami first heard RNS when they performed at her children’s school as part of the In Harmony music education project, and she now regularly brings her children to our Classics 4 Kids series.

She said, “My 1-year-old and 9-year-old are always left in awe of the musicians. To me, RNS means culture!”


Geoff chose to listen to Orff’s Carmina Burana: O Fortuna during his portrait. Geoff’s first RNS concert was back in 1990 when he heard Peter Francomb, RNS’ Section Leader Horn, perform a Mozart horn concerto, and he is pleased that he can still see Peter perform at Sage Gateshead.

His love of music has been passed down to his two daughters, who were also photographed for the exhibition and are now avid concertgoers and musicians themselves.

Vanessa and Arthur

Vanessa and Arthur chose to listen to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in their session. Vanessa’s favourite RNS concert was back in 2016 on tour with guitarist Craig Ogden, but she also enjoyed our Nordic Summer Nights regional tour – particularly hearing Mozart’s Horn Quintet in E flat.

To Vanessa, “RNS is a group of cool professional musicians, who are very kind and put a lot of effort into performing, which makes them very inspiring.”


Myra listened to Mozart’s Soave il Vento from Cosi fan tutte during her portrait, as she is an opera lover and has attended many RNS concerts over the years featuring operatic repertoire.

However, her favourite concert in recent years was the RNS Sampler Baroque concert in July 2018, which she attended with friends who were so moved by hearing the music that they were unable to hold back the tears!


Peter listened to Binge’s The Watermill while he was having his picture taken. Peter’s concert highlight every year is the New Year’s Day concert. This was his first experience of RNS, and he has been a regular attender ever since.

To Peter, RNS simply means “quality, beauty, and happiness.”