One of London’s most iconic music venues will reopen on 9 April. Queen Elizabeth Hall, part of the Southbank Centre, has been undergoing redevelopment work since September 2015.
Designed by architect Hubert Bennett, the brutalist structure is a major landmark on the banks of the Thames. The main auditorium’s capacity has been increased to 1,000, while the Purcell Room has also been refitted. Improvements include better access and production infrastructure, as well as cosmetic changes to the lighting and seating upholstery. The work was led by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
“When these brutalist buildings opened in the 1960s they represented a spirit of adventure, and an egalitarian view that art should be for all,” commented Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly. “With the re-launch of these beloved spaces, we hold fast to that belief, with a bold, ambitious and exciting programme that has audiences and artists of every background at its heart.”
More than 100 events will take place across the two rooms in the first two months, including 32 premieres and new commissions. Among these are an opening concert from Chineke! Orchestra (9 April); an exhibition titled Concrete Dreams that takes audience members on an immersive tour of the building (10-29 April); a world premiere of Philip Venables’ The Gender Agenda by London Sinfonietta (12 April); and the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s Intrada, performed by Colin Currie and Nicholas Hodges.
Southbank Centre has also announced the launch of Composers’ Collective, an initiative connecting composers at all stages of their careers via workshops, seminars and networking events with artists like Esa-Pekka Salonen, Unsuk Chin and Charlotte Bray. The first session runs from 13-15 April.