Plans to build a major new concert hall on the City site of the Museum of London, unveiled last month, have already come under fire from musicians.
Jonathan Rose, director of the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, told The Guardian that it was too expensive and in the wrong place while cellist Julian Lloyd Webber expressed concerns that millions were being spent on buildings rather than music education.
Mr Rose said a site opposite the Tate Modern would be cheaper and quicker.
He said: “To have to wait eight years for the much-needed new concert hall is bad enough, but for that date to be dependent on such a necessarily complex process to remove the Museum of London is extremely high risk.”
Lloyd Webber told The Independent : “I wouldn’t build a brick of it to be honest. The [London] halls are already adequate and it’s about music, not buildings. We are going to build this fantastic hall and who is going to fill it?”
The scheme to build a world-class venue – the £278million Centre For Music – has been championed by Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson. It would be the new home of the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle who is returning from Berlin in 2017.
The Government has pledged £5.5million for a full business case after a six-month feasibility study pinpointed the site near St Paul’s Cathedral which would see the museum move to Smithfield market.
The study said London venues lacked “a brilliance, immediacy, depth, richness and warmth”. The capital is “at real risk of falling behind other major cities with the proliferation of outstanding new 21st-century halls in cities across the world threatening the capital’s current pre-eminence in the music industry”.
Any deal would include £34million to make changes to the Barbican Hall to compensate for the loss of classical music with contemporary, jazz and world music with the centre opening in 2023.