UK Govt will help pay for Birmingham’s Symphony Hall extension

UK Govt will help pay for Birmingham’s Symphony Hall extension


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2017

The small print of the 2017 Budget discloses a grant towards a £10 million extension for Birmingham’s exemplary Symphony Hall.

It’s part of the Government’s Midlands Engine Strategy.

No half-billion for a new hall in London.



  • John Groves says:

    London has enough concert halls without a new white elephant!

    • Will Duffay says:

      But not a single world-class one (Fairfields excluded – but let’s be realistic about the attraction of going to Croydon for a night out in ‘London’).

      Good luck to Brum, though. £10m is £10m, but it won’t go far.

    • Maria says:

      “white elephant” – tired, lazy, predictable old substitute for an argument.

      A concert hall with first class acoustics would not be a white elephant. One of the existing halls might become one though. But more likely, an alternative use would be found.

      • John Groves says:

        If there is enough money for a new concert hall, it should not be built in London, but in the ‘centre’ of England/UK, with excellent transport links, so that as many people as possible have access to it. I still think that the money could be far better spent on the Arts – if that money exists!!!

  • Alexander says:

    Britain’s got money 🙂

  • Richard Craig says:

    Symphony hall is without doubt the best concert hall in the united kingdom with absolutely superb acoustics as opposed to the waterfront hall in Belfast (which is were I come from) which are appalling for classical music

  • Stephen Maddock says:

    It’s not £10m of funding if you read the detailed Midlands Engine announcement (made today). What is announced is ‘Funding towards the £10 million extension of the Birmingham Symphony Hall.’
    In other words, Symphony Hall still need to raise funding from other sources – this is just a contribution (though a very welcome one).
    And remember – until now the national government has not paid a penny towards Symphony Hall – either for its construction in 1991, or its operation.

  • Patrick John Gordon Shaw says:

    City Hall and the Royal Scottish National Hall in Glasgow have reasonable acoustics!

    • Peter Phillips says:

      Also Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall – classic shoe box, has both warmth and clarity in most seats.

  • Harold Wilkin says:

    The Ulster Hall in Belfast, where the resurgent Ulster Orchestra is based, has a wonderfully immersive acoustic for orchestral music. It was finer still before the installation if an unwanted and unsightly balustrade behind the orchestra as part of an insensitive hall refurbishment.

    In London, the dry acoustics of the Barbican and the RFH depressingly suck the life blood out of music. I prefer the lively Royal Albert Hall acoustic, despite it’s many eccentricities.

  • Michael Bicknell says:

    I was the electrical foreman for symphony hall who with a crew of fifteen did all the electrics for the main lighting and sound and the canopy over the stage back in 1990.

  • Graham Walker says:

    And no mention of the Sage Gateshead? Certainly one of the finest acoustics in the country and exceptional architecture.

  • Christopher Madden says:

    I hear the reasons against a new concert hall in London but I don’t accept the argument that London doesn’t need one. It may sound churlish but the standard of orchestral playing in London is let down by the conditions in which orchestras have to play. My local concert hall is the Liverpool Philharmonic, and we’re doubly lucky in witnessing Petrenko’s performances in glorious surroundings with excellent acoustics. I can only imagine the quality of listening to the Philharmonia or LSO would be enhanced immeasurably if they played in Liverpool, or Manchester (which the Philharmonia does). It is not megalomaniacal of Simon Rattle to argue that his ambitions with the LSO are restrained by the poor provision of the Barbican space. It’s just the truth!

    • stweart says:

      He said similar things in the 80s concerning the Birmingham Town Hall (now superbly restored) and look what he achieved,when an enlightened City Council existed, – Symphony Hall