The cellist, head of the Birmingham Conservatoire, has published a closely argued op-ed piece in the Times today stating the case against building the City of London’s vanity hall for the incoming LSO conductor, Sir Simon Rattle.
This week’s news that a state-of-the-art hall virtually next door to the Barbican Centre is a step closer to fruition must surely be greeted with elation? And what’s more, according to a new (£1 million) “feasibility report”, its £278 million cost is just half of what was being quoted last month. Of course there will be that little £34 million extra to spend on the existing Barbican Hall “so that it can replace classical concerts with more contemporary, jazz and world music performances”. Which is nothing compared with the £111 million spent less than ten years ago on refurbishing the Royal Festival Hall. So big (if contrary) figures regarding bricks and mortar are being bandied about. Yet all this money will fail to address the real malaise in Britain’s classical music scene — the woeful neglect of introducing our children to the music itself.
We cannot afford — literally or morally — to make yet another multi-million pound mistake. Music is not about bricks and mortar and “legacy” gestures. It is about the music itself and allowing all our children access to it.
Read the full article here.