In April last year the Building Design Partnership, a leading firm of international architects, was appointed to develop new design proposals to breathe new life into the iconic A-listed concert hall, hailed as Aberdeen’s “sleeping beauty of a building.”
And Aberdeen Performing Arts, which operates the Music Hall, today described the funding package from Creative Scotland as a “massive vote of confidence” in the redevelopment plan.
APA is to receive £100,000 for development costs to take their £7 miliion project to regenerate the Music Hall to the next level and a further £1,400,000 has been earmarked for future work.
Jane Spiers, the chief executive of APA, said: “This is a great vote of confidence in our project. The Music Hall is Scotland’s concert hall in the north east – it’s a favourite with musicians and performers all over the world from Emeli Sandé, whose earliest memory of performing is of taking to the Music Hall stage as an eight-year-old school pupil, to Sir John Barbirolli who called it ‘a beautiful space to make music with a perfect acoustic.’”
She explained that the funding would be used to create a new studio space and new creative learning space; to restore and renovate the auditorium; to improve artistic accommodation; to create a new box office and to make the 155-year-old building more environmentally friendly.
Spiers said: “It will allow us to address long-standing access issues and improve circulation – it will literally transform public access making a new visual connection from Union Street right to the heart of the building.
“It will put the Music Hall at the heart of the regeneration ofUnion Street.”
She added: “But what this project is really about is helping to create step change in the arts in Aberdeen, ensuring a future for the next generation of musicians, artists and audiences, providing more opportunities for young people to make and experience music, making sure we continue to attract artists and musicians of the highest calibre to the city.
“The Music Hall has been at the heart of civic, community and cultural life in Aberdeen for almost 200 years and we want to make sure it’s there for the next 200. “
The current concert hall was designed by prominent Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson. It was originally built in 1822 as the city’s Assembly Rooms and was turned into a concert hall in 1859.