The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the charitable trust Impact Scotland have announced plans for a new arts centre in the heart of Edinburgh.
The facility would be constructed in St Andrew Square and would be the new home of the SCO, as well as a venue for education, conferences and public engagement.
The centrepiece of the building would be a 1,000 seat auditorium, filling the gap for a purpose-built, mid-sized performance venue in Edinburgh. It would also contain a studio providing rehearsal, recital and recording space ‘to rival the best in Europe’.
The facility would allow people from all communities to access cultural and educational experiences, and would provide facilities for young musicians to perform, train and receive coaching from the SCO, other professional artists and EIF performers.
Sistema Scotland would also make use of the venue throughout the year, and the Edinburgh International Festival would adopt the complex as one of its principal venues each August.
Impact (International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust) Scotland would be responsible for oversight of constructing the new building and will manage and operate the complex. The charitable trust will soon invite expressions of interest from architect-led design teams, as well as an acoustic expert, with the intention of making appointments early next year.
The vision for the project has been built around inclusivity and access: the venue would programme a wide range of music in order to appeal to a broad audience, and would provide community arts companies from across Scotland and further afield with improved performance space.
The Dunard Fund has committed a ‘substantial’ amount to the project, and further individual gifts have already been pledged. Further fundraising will be undertaken as part of the project.
The SCO reports that initial discussions with the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish government on possible public sector partnerships have been ‘positive’ and are ongoing.
‘This project provides a fantastic opportunity for the SCO to provide an open, welcoming and unforgettable audience experience in a much-needed mid-sized performance venue with stunning acoustics in the heart of Edinburgh,’ said SCO chair Colin Buchan. ‘Not only will it provide our internationally renowned orchestra with a splendid new home, it will also enable the SCO to reach out in ways that have not been possible in the past.’
A spokesperson for Dunard Fund said: ‘Edinburgh has long awaited an iconic, acoustically superb mid-sized performance hall and we are proud to participate in this exciting project. The new venue would not only benefit the city’s Festivals and the SCO, but would also be a magnet for international touring groups representing all aspects of the performing arts.’