Wednesday 9 November 2022

Wimbledon, a festival and concert hall aspirations

Frank Gehry and the model for Wimbledon Concert Hall
Frank Gehry and the model for Wimbledon Concert Hall

The Wimbledon International Music Festival opens on Saturday (12 November 2022) with Berlioz' L'enfance du Christ and closes with organist David Bruggs providing the soundtrack for Cecil B DeMille's film King of Kings (29 November 2022). In between, events on offer include the Brodsky Quartet celebrating their 50th anniversary, a celebration of RVW's 150th birthday with his Oboe Concerto in a concert with the Philharmonia, Louis Lortie in Franck and Scriabin, Lortie and Helene Mercier in the piano duo version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and a revival of the festival's danced production of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Full details from the festival website.

But the festival is effectively without a home and presents its concerts in a peripatetic series of venues in and around Wimbledon. But the Wimbledon Concert Hall Trust has a plan to amend this. The vision of Anthony Wilkinson, the founder of the festival, the trust is raising the money and the awareness to build an international standard concert hall in Wimbledon to designs by the architect Frank Gehry.

The plan would provide a 1250-seat main hall, with orchestra pit and space for a choir of 200, and 450-seat Second Space plus a 150-seat experimental space / additional rehearsal space. The venue would be fully flexible and multi-genre, and the intention would be to attract both international artists and provide space for community events and involvement. The site is a short distance from Wimbledon Tube, and is currently a car park, thus providing a fine opportunity for cultural regeneration.

This is a remarkable project and a visionary one, keying into the amazing potential of areas like Wimbledon.

Full details from Wimbledon Concert Hall website.

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