Director of London's South Bank Centre Announces Vision for Future

Classic Arts News   Director of London's South Bank Centre Announces Vision for Future
Jude Kelly, the new artistic director of London's South Bank Centre — the vast complex on the Thames that includes the Purcell Room, the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Halls, the National Film Theatre and the Hayward Gallery — has unveiled her vision for its future.

Kelly, who took up her post earlier this year, named an eclectic group of artists who will join the South Bank Centre as associate artists and artists in residence. These include conductor Vladimir Jurowski; indie band St. Etienne; composers Oliver Knussen and George Benjamin; bass-baritone Willard White; composer and musician Nitin Sawhney; choreographer Rafael Bonachela; and poet Lemn Sissay.

The Royal Festival Hall, long criticized for its poor acoustics and drab atmosphere, has closed for two years for a Ô£91 million refurbishment. Its opening next June will be celebrated with a concert featuring all four resident South Bank orchestras: the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Philharmonia Orchestra. In future, the ensembles will collaborate on commissions, training and education projects.

Only a few programming details have been announced; they include Daniel Barenboim playing the complete Beethoven sonatas, a multi-genre festival focusing on the music of Luigi Nono and a gala with the Ballet Boyz as part of the opening festival.

The announcement also included several new appointments to Kelly's South Bank team, including Marshall Marcus, currently chief executive at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as Head of Music effective fall 2006. Gillian Moore, previously artistic director of the London Sinfonietta, was appointed to the newly created Head of Contemporary Culture post.

Kelly, a veteran theater director, was appointed artistic director last July. Her remit includes supervising the South Bank's classical and pop music, visual art and dance offerings — the first time since the center's founding in 1951 that a single director has been responsible for all the art forms presented at the center. Kelly emphasized that she hopes the center will become a place "where art forms will cross over."

She added, "Our intention is to make the South Bank Centre a far more open, hospitable, accessible and creative place — a 'bustling' cultural port at the heart of this great world city. The Centre will also be somewhere where new work is born; where ideas from around the world will be researched and expounded."

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