Frequently Asked Questions

What does the name Samling mean?

Samling Institute takes its name from the original location in which our work started in 1996. There is no direct English translation for the concept of Samling, which is a Scandinavian, originally old Norse word that can mean ‘gathering’, ‘collective’, ‘assembly’ or even ‘collection’ – this last meaning in the sense of a deliberate collection of people in one place at one time.

We wanted our name to reflect the multi-faceted benefits of bringing emerging artists together with people at the top of their profession. This process is absolutely central to our organisation but there is no single word in English that conveys the fullness of the concept: we felt Samling was perfect for doing so.

Coincidentally, the German word Sämling, pronounced ‘Zemm-ling’, means a seedling or young plant – a concept that sits well with Samling’s work in nurturing young talent. But despite its almost identical spelling, Sämling has a completely different origin to the Scandinavian word Samling.

Where is Samling Institute based?

Samling Institute’s offices are in the Northumbrian market town of Hexham in the North East of England.

Our full address is: Samling Institute for Young Artists, Community Centre, Gilesgate, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3NP.

I am a young professional singer or piano accompanist. How do I audition for Samling Artist Programme?

We do not accept unsolicited applications from individuals for Samling Artist Programme. The young artists who we work with must first be recommended to us for an audition.

Recommendations come from all the major UK conservatoires, the National Opera Studio and other trusted individuals here and overseas, as well as from our course leaders. Samling Artists are also able to recommend their peers and indeed a significant number of singers and pianists have found their way to us this way.

If you have been recommended we suggest that you supply us with a reference from that individual and send it to us with your CV/biography (including date of birth) and a photograph. We will then consider your application.

Auditions take place annually in London and Glasgow.

More information on Samling Artist Programme in general is also available at

I’m a young singer in the North East. How do I apply for Samling Academy?

Samling Academy is open to singers aged 14–21 who live or study in the North East of England and, as with the professional Samling Artist Programme, admission is by recommendation and audition. If you are interested in taking part in future Academy activity, or know someone who is interested, please ask your music teacher or singing teacher to contact us at with your name and date of birth and where you live or study.

More information on Samling Academy in general is available at

What is the difference between Samling Artist Programme and Samling Academy?

Samling Artist Programme has been part of our activity since Samling was established in 1996 and is designed for young professional singers and pianists (typically aged 24–35). Prospective Samling Artists come from all over the UK and abroad and will usually have completed at least one year of a postgraduate course at music college or conservatoire.

By contrast, Samling Academy started in 2012 and is open to younger singers (aged 14–21) at an earlier stage of artistic development, who live in the North East of England or study at one of the region’s universities.

The structure of the two strands of Samling Institute’s activity is also different. Samling Artist Programme’s training takes place over the course of one very busy and intensive week, while Samling Academy training takes place over six days, over two non-consecutive weekends at the start of the academic year, and is followed by further opportunities for training and performance throughout the year.

Is there a difference between Samling Scholars and Samling Artists?

Both titles refer to someone who has completed one of Samling’s week-long residential masterclasses but since 2014 we have referred to such individuals as Samling Artists rather than Samling Scholars. The reason for this is that the term ‘scholar’ is often associated with an academy and we wanted to make clear the difference between the professionals taking part in Samling Artist Programme and the young singers at an earlier stage in their artistic development who participate in Samling Academy.

How is Samling Institute funded?

Samling Institute for Young Artists is a registered charity and does not receive any statutory or regular funding. We are funded through a mix of grants from trusts and foundations, individual giving, philanthropic donations and corporate sponsorship.

One way in which you can help us continue our work is to become a Friend of Samling: Friends Membership costs just £40 annually (or £60 for couples) and in addition to knowing that your donation is directly helping us develop our work you will receive a range of benefits.

For more information please see the Friends section of our website, email or call 01434 602885.

Where can I see Samling Institute performances?

Samling Artist Programme weeks always include public Masterclass and Concert events at Sage Gateshead. Samling Institute also presents an annual Showcase concert at Wigmore Hall, London, in which selected Samling Artists get the chance to perform at this most prestigious of venues alongside Leaders of the programme. We have also performed at festivals including Music in the Round in Sheffield.

Samling Academy performances take place annually in October at Sage Gateshead as the culmination of six days of intensive study. Academy participants also perform in biennial opera productions at Sage Gateshead and Saltburn-by-the-Sea. In years without an opera production, themed Academy summer concerts take place in the North East.

In a broader sense, on any given week the 350 Samling Artists who have received our unique training can be seen in performance on many of the world’s greatest stages.

For more information on all our current public events please visit the Events section of our website.