Edinburgh might get new concert hall before London

Edinburgh might get new concert hall before London


norman lebrecht

November 16, 2016

Just in:

The charitable trust IMPACT Scotland and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) have developed a proposal to create a new worldclass arts centre in the heart of Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh.

 The proposal is to build a facility in St Andrew Square which would be the new home of the SCO, as well as a venue for education, conferences and public engagement.

The centrepiece is a 1,000 seat auditorium, as well as a studio providing rehearsal, recital and
recording space to rival the best in Europe. The new building will be immediately behind Dundas House at 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh. The historic Royal Bank of Scotland branch will continue to operate as a stand-alone branch.

The auditorium would meet the long-recognised need for a purpose-built, mid-sized performance venue in Edinburgh,combining excellent acoustics with access for all forms of popular music, jazz, folk, chamber and other small classical music groups as well as solo and song recitals and small dance ensembles.




  • Maria says:

    1,000 seats is only slightly more than Cadogan Hall.

    Not really comparable with the proposal for London. Still, anything to stoke up a bit of rancour?

  • Peter Freeman says:

    There is nothing wrong with the delightful Queen’s Hall, which should not become disused as a result of this; nor should anything more be done to disfigure with modernity the Georgian period architectural aesthetic of St Andrew Square. It has already happened with Harvey Nichols and the Bus Station, and something equally un-contextual is likely to arise on the south-western corner of the Square, but anything rising above the rear of the bank would ruin the view from George Street, as happened with the view north from London’s Regent Street when the BBC heinously lost it the silhouette of the All Souls spire.

    • Orchestral musician says:

      The backstage area of the Queen’s Hall is disgusting.It smells of drains and is a horrible, uncomfortable place to get changed before a concert.When the hall is busy, the bar area is far too small to accommodate the audience seeking to have a chat and a drink at the interval.A new medium scale venue for Edinburgh is long overdue.

  • AKP says:

    Not sure I would describe The Queen’s Hall as delightful. It has sightline problems, many of the seats are uncomfortable,limited foyer space and facilities. The corridors get clogged up pretty quickly pre-performance and during the interval making it a struggle to get anywhere.
    I’d hope that it would continue to be used but a well designed mid-scale concert hall would be a very welcome.

    • Robert Roy says:

      I quite agree! It’s a real ‘make do and mend’ affair. I was personally ashamed at the state of the carpet in the upper area this festival. It was stained and dirty. However, this is nothing compared with the smell of urine that seemed to pervade the hall’s downstairs area.

      I’m amazed no one has been hurt with regards the ‘ bottle neck’ that happens every Festival concert at 11.00 am. The hall is SUPPOSED to open at 10.30 but very rarely does. The excuse given is that ‘the artists are still rehearsing”. Imho, the hall should take a tougher stand and insist the artists and the keyboard technicians are done by 10.30. (I once witnessed a tuner throwing a major strop because, gasp, the audience were being allowed in! What a cheek!)
      And if the artists need to rehearse then they should get up earlier or have the courtesy to be prepared before they consider performing to a knowledgeable audience.

      Bearing in mind that many of the Festival’s clientele are not in the first flush of youth I’m surprised no one has been injured in the scrum that builds up on the narrow pavement in South Clerk Street.

    • A Munro says:

      I do hope this scheme comes to fruition. Then some much needed work can be done on the Queen’s Hall

  • Halldor says:

    “Edinburgh might get new concert hall before London”
    Well, why not? Everywhere else has.

  • Scottish musician says:

    Queen’s Hall is also a pretty awful place to rehearse and play if there are more than 8 players. That the SCO sound so good in there is testament to them, not the hall.

  • Elizabeth owen says:

    The BBC instructed the architect to “embrace” All Hallows church hence the entrance to the BBC curves inwards.

  • Una says:

    Edinburgh has nothing to do with London. It’s in a different country, with different funding, different mentality and London is not superior to Edinburgh – it’s just different. Good luck to them.