New City Halls for Glasgow

Glasgow's City Halls will be responsible for delivering high quality music performance and education to the city.

Feature by Leo Wood | 16 Apr 2006

Located in the heart of Glasgow's Merchant City and fully refurbished, following a £15 million renovation programme started in 2003, the City Halls reopened in early January 2006.

Originally built in 1841, the venue was the first purpose-built performance space in Glasgow and, for over 150 years, provided the city with fine concert halls for classical music. The newly renovated City Halls is now the new administrative, rehearsal, performing and broadcasting base of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (SSO), incidentally Scotland's first full-time orchestra, formed in 1935, and is now also the Glasgow residence of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. As a new auditorium and top notch broadcasting and recording facilities have just been built, BBC Scotland Radio plans to broadcast almost all SSO concerts and events live from the City Halls.

The new space also includes a Scottish Music Centre library and rehearsal facilities for schools, community groups and music professionals alike, making the City Halls an important source of music education in the city. There are also plans for a new community choir based at the City Halls and various workshops and courses have been planned, from rare instrument classes to DJ workshops.

Another exciting change has come with the refurbishment: The Old Fruitmarket, one of the city's best loved performance spaces, has been restored and reopened. The original features such as the cobbled walkways, cast iron columns, listed greengrocer's signs, and lofty vaulted roof make the Old Fruitmarket a unique venue. The stage area has also been improved with a new watertight roof, and has been moved from one side of the building to the other, allowing audiences to access the venue through the City Halls entrance on Candleriggs. Back in January, just following its inauguration, The Old Fruitmarket put on several concerts as part of the Celtic Connections Festival, but, as Glasgow is home to thirteen music festivals a year, the concerts housed in this space will be varied, from jazz to pop, from rock to folk, and it will also host comedy events.

'Come See the City Halls', begs the venue programme, but perhaps you should come and see both these versatile and exciting state of the art venues that represent a significant addition to the city's portfolio of performance facilities.