RSNO launch new purpose-built home in Glasgow

Artist's impression of the new home for the RSNO in Glasgow. Picture: Contributed
Artist's impression of the new home for the RSNO in Glasgow. Picture: Contributed
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SCOTLAND’S newest concert hall was launched in Glasgow today - a purpose-built venue which has plugged a gap site opposite its main bus station.

The £19 million building - billed as a new “world-class” home for music in Glasgow - includes a new 600-seater performance space, as well as a permanent rehearsal and recording facility for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

The new home is truly a world-class facility for Scotland’s national orchestra

Dr Krishna Thiagarajan, RSNO’s CEO

The development, created in a old goods yard beside the John Lewis department store on Killermont Street, has also effectively extended the 25-year-old Royal Concert Hall, which was built for Glasgow’s reign as European City of Culture in 1990.

It provided a far superior headquarters for the orchestra from its former cramped base at Henry Wood Hall.

Work on the £19 million development, originally intended to open in time for Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games, began two and a half years ago.

State-of-the-art technology has allows venue managers to use moveable walls and balconies to turn the venue into an intimate space or create extra room for musicians or audiences to sit in a wrap-around format.

• READ MORE: RSNO unveils plans for new Glasgow home

Adjustable acoustic barriers allow the venue to be adapted to suit certain styles of concert and music, while some of the seating can be moved to create a standing arena, as is the case with the Royal Concert Hall.

The new venue will be run in partnership between the RSNO and Glasgow Life, which is responsible for the Royal Concert, making it available to independent promoters, as well as other orchestras and music organisations.

The RSNO’s chief executive, Dr Krishna Thiagarajan, said: “The new home is truly a world-class facility for Scotland’s national orchestra, to efficiently and effectively build its reputation and increase its capacity to connect with communities across Scotland and the entire music loving world.

“We we are grateful to our RSNO patrons, our corporate and foundation supporters, as well as Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to make this project a reality.

“Together we have delivered a bespoke rehearsal and recording space, exceptional

education and learning facilities and a valuable recital venue, providing a key addition to the country’s cultural venues.”

• READ MORE: New RSNO chief Krishna Thiagarajan’s positive outlook

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Five years ago, when I visited the RSNO’s rehearsal space in Henry Wood Hall, I made a commitment to the orchestra musicians that I would do what I could to help ensure they could move to a building fit for their talent and needs.

“With support from the Scottish Government, and from partners and donors, that commitment has been realised.

“The RSNO must be commended for its outstanding work in producing engaging learning programmes which have drawn in more than 270, 000 people locally,

nationally and internationally.

“This new state-of-the-art operational base will allow the RSNO to go even further thanks to a world class rehearsal space and new digital connectivity.

“The building also provides Glasgow with a purpose-built music venue to enhance the city’s reputation as UNESCO City of Music.”

Deputy council leader Archie Graham, who is also the chair of Glasgow Life, said: “In the 25th anniversary year of Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, the new auditorium marks a new chapter in the history of this much-loved venue and will help us continue to build on our cultural heritage.”