The RNCM is both a music conservatoire and arts venue, where Manchester Camerata and big bands sit perfectly alongside FKA twigs, alt-J and Tim Burgess in an incredibly varied programme. Modernist landmark, site of educational excellent, the Royal Northern College of Music concert hall is one of Greater Manchester’s premier concert spaces.
Though Manchester’s Northern School of Music dates back to the 1920s – a legacy of the pre-war Manchester classical music boom which had its origins in Sir Charles Hallé’s pioneering of Manchester’s first symphony orchestra – its building is an icon of post-war modernism, constructed in the 1970s. Whilst the much-loved performance venue has had a couple of facelifts since then – most recently a celebrated interior refurbishment in the last decade by Scott Hughes Design – the Royal Northern College of Music Concert Hall endures as one of Manchester’s premier music spaces.
One of the largest black box stages in Greater Manchester with walls over a metre in thickness, the concert hall boasts a generous orchestra pit as well as benefiting from its newly expanded seating capacity. During the most recent refurbishment, an extra balcony was added, whilst utmost care has been taken to preserve the venue’s distinctive organ. Air conditioning and state-of-the-art audio amplification make attending a modern and refreshing experience. Though the Royal Northern College of Music Concert Hall hosts pop and rock as well as classical, its excellent programming is pointedly more diverse and specialist than other venues in the city. This, and the venue’s unique characteristics, ensures that any visit to the concert hall remains something of a treat.
Architect Ian Palmer described the venue’s most recent redesign as affording “the audience to be fully immersed in the performance as if suspended in an Escher painting”, even comparing the venue to a Rubik’s cube. This means a venue with unique acoustic qualities where your experience varies – but always excels – depending on your seating location within the 500 capacity hall.
As the college is an active hub of activity, the buzz of working musicians and busy students around the venue only adds to its appeal – the hall is right in the heart of Oxford Road Corridor.
The Royal Northern College of Music is continually recognised as one of the world’s most forward-thinking conservatoires and sits perfectly between The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester’s innovation district. The college is home to over 900 students from more than 60 countries, it is dedicated to providing an outstanding education that propels students into careers as inspiring and versatile musicians, fully-equipped for exciting futures both on and off stage.