A HEXHAM charity which has helped to nurture the careers of some of the world’s best young classical singers and accompanists has embarked on a new era with a change of name.

Samling, based in Hexham’s Community Centre, has relaunched as Samling Institute for Young Artists, after being awarded the status of a institute for its work with over 300 young singers and musicians across the UK since 1996.

The charity has worked for decades to bring internationally renowned artists together with emerging young talent in a series of intensive week-long residencies, culminating in a public masterclass and concert. Many of its students have gone on to appear on the world’s major operatic and concert stages and scoop the top prizes at the most prestigious competitions.

One of the institute’s cohorts is Hexham’s mezzo-soprano Rachel Bird, who is in her fourth year at Samling.

Rachel said: “Samling has provided me with opportunities that I could not get anywhere else, and allowed me to develop my performance skills over the past few years. Its high quality training is the main reason I chose to study in the North-East.”

Karon Wright, founder and executive director of the institute said that for Samling, the new name doesn’t mean jettisoning the old.

“We kept Samling in our name as its an important part of our story.” she said. “In German ‘Sämling’ translates as ‘seedling’, which seemed appropriate as we are in the business of growing young talent.”