University music facility one step closer to realisation
The go-ahead has been given to build a 450-seat concert hall designed by Glenn Howells Architects on the University of Birmingham’s campus. This auditorium, with its associated research, teaching and rehearsal facilities, will house the Department of Music and will complete the redbrick semi-circle of buildings which have been the heart of the University since 1909.
This new facility by Glenn Howells Architects will provide technologically advanced accommodation for teaching and research within the department. The auditorium will be the most flexible performance space at a UK university and suitable for performances from solo voice through electroacoustic music, to a full symphony orchestra. Professor John Whenham, Head of the University’s Department of Music, said:
"The auditorium will provide a wonderful space in which the University’s rehearsals and concerts can take place. It will be unique in Birmingham in its size, adaptability and audience capacity and will provide facilities from which not only the university, but also local community users can benefit. It will also provide our undergraduate and postgraduate composers with the opportunity to try out their work in the acoustics of a first-rate concert hall."
Other resources include the Dome rehearsal room, which is large enough to accommodate a symphony orchestra, and new electroacoustic music studios. A new suite of early music rooms for the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research will provide properly temperature and humidity controlled homes for the Department’s large and growing working collection of original and reproduction instruments, ranging in period from the middle ages to the 19th century, and laboratory space for staff and students to experiment in the performance practices of earlier centuries. The new auditorium itself will also feature technologically advanced facilities enabling students and researchers to perform there with BEAST - the Music Department’s internationally renowned 100-channel sound diffusion system.
Thanks to the generosity of the University’s alumni, friends and supporters £3.6 million has been raised towards the £5m fundraising goal needed to complete this exciting project; a public fundraising campaign including an opportunity to name a seat in the auditorium will be launched in the Autumn.