Browsing the web this morning I came across the following two pages http://www.sheffieldcityofculture.com/ and http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/whats-new/cityofculturebid. Well done Sheffield for being shortlisted for UK City of culture 2013 (along with Norwich, Birmingham and Derry). Sheffield certainly has masses to offer and full marks to Paul Scriven and Sylvia Dunkley for getting us this far.
Sheffield is blessed with a vibrant popular music scene, and an international reputation for its festivals of classical chamber music but, almost incredibly, no professional orchestra and no concert hall (the two go hand in hand). There is no shortage of amateur music making. Indeed there can be few cities with so many amateur orchestras, choral societies, opera companies and every other possible musical interest and the simple fact that they survive tells us all we need to know; BUT, once again, no professsional orchestra and no concert hall. The City Hall, despite its refurbishment, is an acoustic joke and too big. It simply wont do. Sheffield needs, and should demand, a truly modern hall along the lines of the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Gateshead’s ‘Sage’, or Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. There is no need to match the capacities of these iconic buildings (2,200 and 1,800 respectively), 800 seats would do nicely, but in terms of facilities and quality these should be our inspiration.
There is a huge amount of new development around the Moor and other city centre sites The time has come to plan and build Britain’s finest concert hall in Sheffield, UK City of culture 2013! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Postscript: Quotation from the Sheffield City of Culture website:- “1. International: we will develop a programme of international quality, scale and profile. We will attract international artists, organisations and creative businesses to create and make in the city. We will combine large-scale events with far-reaching education programmes….” To my mind, ‘international scale’ must include a modern concert venue: and do look at the Bridgewater’s site for news of their excellent ‘far-reaching education programme’.
Post postscript. Congratulations to Derry and commiserations to Sheffield on the final result.