RNCM reopens after £7m revamp

The Concert Hall at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music has reopened following a £7.1m refurbishment.

Designed by architect Ian Palmer and undertaken by Styles&Wood, the work on RNCM included a complete overhaul of the 40-year-old Concert Hall, incorporating new air-conditioning and heating system, new flooring and seating, advanced technical facilities and lighting, and a new balcony and raised floor area to increase capacity.

RNCM Concert Hall
RNCM Concert Hall

The hall was formally reopened yesterday at a launch event for students and sponsors, many of them long-term supporters of the college, which was established in 1972.

Speaking at the launch, RNCM Principal Linda Merrick said the architects sought to retain original features while updating the hall with a contemporary and timeless design.

‘This presents a unique opportunity to further enhance our student experience and draw top artists to the city of Manchester. It reinforces RNCM as one of the world’s leading arts centres and conservatoires,’ she said.

Beginning in January this year, the redevelopment also included reconfiguring the backstage areas of the RNCM Concert Hall and Theatre to include new changing rooms and en-suite dressing rooms alongside new wardrobe and laundry rooms. A student deck, seminar room, conference room and new practice pods were also created, and capacity for the RNCM Lecture Theatre.

RNCM Concert Hall  organ
RNCM Concert Hall organ

Palmer said: ‘The RNCM is a much-loved venue, so expectations were extremely high. We wanted the audience to be fully immersed in the performance, as if suspended in an Escher painting. What we have created is a spatial Rubik’s cube that will allow the College to expand its repertoire, confident of a venue that is beautiful, technically outstanding and, most significantly, maintains its unique acoustic qualities.’

The refurbishment was supported through funds raised by the ‘Your RNCM’ campaign, as well as by a number of foundations including the Foyle Foundation, Granada Foundation and the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust.

The RNCM Concert Hall reopened last night with a concert by British baritone Sir Thomas Allen.