BBC National Orchestra gets new home

18 September 2008

Handover has taken place on the Capita Architecture designed BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff.

The venue – which is on the same site as the Wales Millennium Centre (also designed by Capita Architecture) - will provide the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales with a permanent 350-seat rehearsal and performance space. It is named after one of Wales’ leading composers - Alun Hoddinott.

The venue will hold full scale studio concerts encompassing a full orchestra, 130 strong chorus, plus an audience – something which has not been possible at the orchestra’s current venue at BBC Broadcasting House in Cardiff (a building which was actually designed in the sixties by the Percy Thomas Partnership, now part of Capita Architecture).

Administrative spaces of the completed building will now be fitted out internally by the BBC before the grand opening in January next year.

The new hall and facilities will actually complete the original Wales Millennium Centre concept with the venue’s design and acoustics having been tailored to the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales’ exact requirements.

The name has also been announced for the studio at the new venue - The Grace Williams Studio. This will provide auxiliary rehearsal space for the Orchestra and will be the home base for BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s education and community outreach work with the capability of hosting workshops, masterclasses, small-scale rehearsals and performances.

Grace Williams [1906-1977], a pupil of Vaughan Williams, was one of the three major Welsh composers of the twentieth century. The orchestra recently premiered a reconstruction of Grace Williams’ First symphony, and will play her Second Symphony in an opening season of concerts at BBC Hoddinott Hall.