The nomination is a reflection of optimism in the UK that the worst of the covid-19 pandemic will be over, and also of Sage Gateshead's ambition in northeastern England, where the British Government is directing a lot of investment towards the local economy. "Right now, when communities in the Northeast are going to need music and the arts more than ever, Sage Gateshead wants to respond significantly, bringing the vital role of music in improving health and well-being, education and training, and in creation of common positive experiences to benefit the entire region ”, he justifies in a statement.
Dinis Sousa, 32, was recruited to boost musical activity in this community, working alongside RNS musicians to reach new audiences in schools, over the Internet, throughout the region and in Sage Gateshead's concert halls. The Portuguese man was “honoured” and “enthusiastic” about the challenge of leading an orchestra that he first heard in Porto, where he originally came from, and which he conducted in January and November 2020. “The orchestra is very much appreciated by local audiences and it is great to be able to be part of this extended family and this community. I believe that music is for everyone. It is not selective, it is not complicated. In a way, it has a way of communicating more directly with people than words ”, he declared, in an institutional announcement video about the new position.
Royal Northern Symphony director Thorben Dittes said that "Dinis' special connection with the orchestra on stage has been unmistakable since the first time RNS performed with him." "It is clearly an exceptional talent and we are very excited about the enormous artistic potential that Dinis, as our new Principal Conductor, will bring to the Northeast," he added. Dinis Sousa had been appointed in 2018 as assistant conductor of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras, where he collaborated closely with British conductor John Eliot Gardiner. Within the scope of the work with the period orchestra Solistas Baroque Ingleses and the Orchester Révolutionnaire et Romantique, and with Gardiner, its founder, Dinis Sousa directed, among others, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, and performed at BBC Proms, in front of the Choir Monteverdi, to offer the choral symphony “Rómeo et Juliette” by Berlioz. Before that, he studied Orchestra Direction at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in London, and founded the Orchestra XXI, a group that brings together Portuguese musicians living abroad, a project for which he was recognised with the title of Knight of the Order of Infante D. Henrique in Portugal.