Let’s move Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to the waterfront
Mar 18 2008 by Joe Riley, Liverpool Echo
THE Liverpool Philharmonic’s conductor, Vasily Petrenko, has backed a plan for a new home for the orchestra on the waterfront.
The long-term “dream” is based on lack of adequate facilities – including car parking – at the present Philharmonic Hall in Hope Street.
Russian-born Mr Petrenko said that a purpose-built concert hall on the banks of the Mersey “is where a world-class orchestra should be based.”
Speaking in culture magazine, Liverpool.com, he said: “Think about it. Wouldn’t that be amazing? It could be part of a real cultural hub for the city.”
Mr Petrenko, 32, is the Phil’s youngest-ever conductor, with a contract that runs until 2012. His call for a move from Philharmonic Hall backs the findings of strategy studies which warn that facilities in and surrounding the Philharmonic Hall are out-dated.
He rejects the argument of sentimentality for the present art deco hall, which was given a £10.3m refurbishment 12 years ago.
He said: “That is what the (Manchester) Hallé said of their original home before they moved to the Bridgewater Hall. Now everyone thinks of that as their home.”
“I know it’s a beautiful building we’re in, but we desperately need more space.”
Mick Elliott, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, who is about to become director of culture at the Department of Culture Media and Sport, said the idea of moving to the waterfront “remained a long-term dream”.
Reports were made on the needs of the Phil in 2001 and 2006. Mr Elliott said a new feasibility study, being funded by the North West Development Agency, the city council and the Philharmonic – at a yet undisclosed cost – would concentrate on improving the Hope Street site.
Culture company bosses Bryan Gray and Phil Redmond recommended a “Lowry-like” arts centre on the waterfront.