Why Does London Need a New Concert Hall? | Tony Woodcock

February 18, 2015 9:33 PM

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There is a debate raging in London surrounding Sir Simon Rattle's apparent stipulation that he will only consider the London Symphony Orchestra's invitation to become their new Principal Conductor if the City fathers build him a new concert hall to replace the unpopular Barbican Centre. I use "unpopular" in the sense that the hall's poor acoustics have plagued its credibility since its opening in 1982. The complex has many other shortcomings, but now is not the time to labour the point because some really determined people over many years have made it work despite the odds. Suffice to say the hall is not on the international shortlist of the world's acoustically perfect venues, but it nevertheless functions well.

The possible successor to the LSO's current Principal Conductor, the energetic and quixotic Valerie Gergiev, Rattle came onto the scene as the Gustavo Dudamel of his day in the 1970s. He made his name in his late 20s leading the relatively obscure City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to new and uni...

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