Thursday, 29 October 2015

Movement grows to address London’s lack of a notable concert hall

Sir Simon Rattle is coming to London as the director of the London Symphony Orchestra from 2017, but his price is reputed to be a new concert hall.

The chancellor, George Osborne, is a classical music lover and is said to support the plan. It might also sound reasonable - for a city that purports to be a world leader in music, has five orchestras but does not have a hall with a truly fine acoustic for orchestral music.

Last year the City of London announced a willingness to build and raise much of the money for a concert hall which would herald the City as a place of beauty and inspiration as well as a financial centre. It would be sited near the Barbican, creating another artistic axis for London.

The preferred site appears to be a rather grim traffic roundabout in central London that is currently home to the Museum of London. A £1m feasibility study has been done and, according to the City Of London local authority, concluded that it is feasible for it to be located on the site.

The plans for a new venue are already dividing music experts and performers and threatening the most discordant of overtures to Rattle’s reign at the LSO.

“The cost of building in the middle of the Square Mile is prohibitive - half a billion pounds, at current estimates. A ridiculous amount compared to the general global cost of a concert hall,” the veteran critic and music writer Norman Lebrecht fumed in his online blog.

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