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‘World-class’ concert venue planned for Wimbledon

Renowned architect Frank Gehry has begun drawing up plans for the Wimbledon Concert Hall, a 1,250-seat classical concert venue envisioned for the south-west London suburb.

Early designs have been prepared by Gehry – whose previous designs include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles – on behalf of Anthony Wilkinson, director of Wimbledon International Festival, according to the Times.

Patrons of the project include Dame Darcey Bussell, who will advance on dance, and Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. The proposed site for the venue, for which backers hope to raise £100 million, is a supermarket car park in Wimbledon, an area of London best known as the home of tennis.

“To have a Frank Gehry-designed concert hall in Wimbledon would be a total transformation of London”

“To have a Frank Gehry-designed concert hall in Wimbledon would be a total transformation of London concert life,” says Salonen. “It would have a global effect. With these buildings the influence goes way beyond the art form.”

The Wimbledon Concert Hall announcement follows that of the proposed Centre for Music at the Barbican, for which the City of London has pledged £2.5m, with both venues hoping to fill a gap for a new classical concert hall in the UK capital.

Both existing major London concert halls, Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, are considered ill-equipped by many in the classical music community, with conductor Simon Rattle famously once commenting: “After rehearsing for half an hour in the Royal Festival Hall, you lose the will to live.”


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