Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is an arts venue in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. The concert hall is operated by Glasgow’s Concert Halls, which also runs Glasgow’s City Halls and Old Fruitmarket.

History

Constructed in the late 80s, the building was officially opened in October 1990, after what had been a controversial construction programme, beset with technical and financial problems.

The Concert Hall was a byproduct of Glasgow's 1990 City of Culture status, and was intended as a replacement for St. Andrews Hall, adjacent to the Mitchell Library, which had been destroyed by fire in 1962. The hall was seen as a major symbol of the city's regeneration after years of neglect and deprivation. The hall occupies a site at the junction of Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, which was once home to the Glasgow NAAFI, and the former Parliamentary Road, which was rendered derelict after the building of Buchanan St. Bus Station in 1978. The development also included plans for a massive shopping mall, which would become the Buchanan Galleries, although it was almost a decade later before this was realised.

The Hall is often used for non-music events, such as graduation ceremonies for nearby Glasgow Caledonian University. In addition, the auditorium area is insulated by a massive rubber membrane built into the floor - intended to dampen out noise and vibration from the Subway tracks which run underneath.

During the building phase the Concert Hall attracted much criticism from the press owing to its huge cost, and the management of its construction, its over-imposing facade, and even the acoustics of the main auditorium have been criticised. The project ran out of money during construction and building work stopped in 1989. The East wall of the building was left without sandstone cladding for the first 6 years of its life, some debate exists over whether this unsightly mess was in anticipation of the Buchanan Galleries which now adjoins onto this part of the building, or whether this was due to the financial problems. The building earned the nick name of "Lally's Palais" (Lally's Palace) due to Lord Provost Pat Lally's leading role in the development of the Concert Hall.Fact|date=October 2008

The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall was officially opened on 5th October 1990 by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (then the Scottish National Orchestra) gave the very first performance at the Hall at the Royal Gala Opening Concert. The programme featured two new works by Scottish composers, Carillon by Thomas Wilson and Rainbow 90 by Thea Musgrave, both specially commissioned for the occasion by Glasgow City Council, as well as pieces by Beethoven and Vaughn Williams.

Architecture

The building was designed by Sir Leslie Martin, and Edinburgh-based company RMJM and partners commenced its construction in 1988. In April 1988 the first stone was laid and it would be 30 months before the final opening in October 1990.

Performance spaces and facilities

The Main Auditorium is the largest performance space in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and can seat 2475 people. Other spaces in the hall include the 500-seat Strathclyde Suite, the Exhibition Hall, and the Buchanan Suite. The hall also has a gift shop, foyers, seven bars, a café bar and a restaurant, The Green Room.

Artists

The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is the Glasgow performance base of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and has hosted many international orchestras, soloists and conductors, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Celia Bartoli and Maxim Vengerov. As well as classical music, the hall plays host to opera and ballet, musical theatre, talks, rock and pop, folk, world and country, swing and comedy. Acts who have appeared at GRCH in the past include Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bob Hope, BB King, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, Celine Dion and Debbie Harry. The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is also the main venue for the Celtic Connections festival.

References in culture

Glaswegian author Alex Gray used the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as the setting for her book Shadows of Sounds, a fictional crime novel. The hall also featured in an Irn-Bru television advert in 2006. The advert was an animated homage to Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, in which a boy and a snowman fly past the Concert Hall. [http://irn-bru.co.uk/advert/snowman.html]

ee also

* List of major concert halls

References

External links

* [http://www.glasgowconcerthalls.com The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall]
* [http://www.inglasgow.com/inglaig/gallery.asp?categoryid=32 Photographs of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow]


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