St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh University, Cowgate Building, Architect, Project, Design

St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh : Architecture

Edinburgh Concert Hall, off Cowgate, oldest purpose-built concert venue in Scotland

26 Apr 2017

St Cecilia’s Hall to Reopen

St Cecilia’s Hall Reopening

£6.5m revamp of oldest concert hall showcases treasures of note

26th April 2017 – Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert venue – St Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh – is to reopen next month after a two-year, £6.5million redevelopment.

A preview tomorrow (Thursday) will highlight how the historic University of Edinburgh building has been thoughtfully restored, transforming its concert room and music museum into an elegant, engaging space.

The refurbished venue, in the city’s Old Town, will be home to the University’s world-class collection of musical instruments. It will give people a chance to learn about how musical instruments’ role has changed over time, and hear them performed.

The striking Sypert Concert Room has retained its distinctive oval shape and, in the months ahead, will host an eclectic array of performances for up to 200 people.

St Cecilia’s Hall’s four exhibition galleries will showcase more than 400 instruments from the University’s outstanding music collection, which spans four centuries.

The Binks Gallery will chart the history of the keyboard, exhibiting a selection of historically significant instruments, including the renowned Pascal Taskin harpsichord, made in 1769.

The visual appeal of harpsichords is celebrated in the 1812 Gallery, which displays stunning instruments with lids emblazoned with vibrant and intricately decorated scenes.

A variety of stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments will go on show in the Wolfson Gallery, where visitors can discover how technology has changed the way music sounds.

The Laigh Hall will showcase how music is played in groups and how people throughout the world have used instruments. Among its many attractions is the Mayuri, an elaborate 19th century stringed instrument from India, in the shape of a peacock.

Page/Park Architects have taken inspiration from the shapes and intricate craftsmanship found in the collection to create a truly unique building.

The new entrance on Niddry Street will draw visitors in from the Royal Mile with a distinctive wrought iron gate in the silhouette of a harpsichord. Decorative details from instruments appear throughout the building’s interior.

Jacky MacBeath, Head of Museums at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The University of Edinburgh is incredibly proud of St Cecilia’s Hall. The building is a triumph that is both sympathetic to its Georgian heritage and equipped for a modern audience. The music museum has been meticulously curated to showcase our exquisite instruments and teach people about their significance.

“We are delighted to reopen our doors next month and, for the first time, we will be open five days a week. Visitors to the museum will be immersed in the sounds of our instruments, as students and experts will play them throughout the day, so no two visits will be the same.”

The redevelopment project generated more than £2million from outside the University. Alongside philanthropic support, major funding was received from The National Lottery and Edinburgh World Heritage.

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, Lucy Casot, commented: “The University of Edinburgh’s collection of musical instruments is regarded as one of the finest in the world. Thanks to players of The National Lottery, Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall has been transformed so that the collection can be brought under one roof so that many more people can study, perform and enjoy it.”

The Hall features an in-house conservation studio, supported by the Dunard Fund. A large window into the studio will let visitors see University conservators treating and preserving instruments.

A teaching lab, supported by the Friends of St Cecilia’s Hall, will enable students and researchers to learn about the collection.

St Cecilia’s Hall is the only venue in the world where it is possible to hear 18th century musical instruments played in an 18th century concert hall.

Built in 1763, it was originally commissioned by the Edinburgh Musical Society and was designed by architect Robert Mylne.

Since its construction, the Georgian building has had many uses including a school, a masonic lodge and a dance hall.

St Cecilia’s Hall Music Museum and Concert Room will be open 10am-5pm Tuesday – Friday and 12pm-5pm on Saturday.

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage commented: ‘St. Cecilia’s Hall embodies both Edinburgh’s rich intangible heritage – the cultural and intellectual melting pot that was 18th century Edinburgh – as much as our tangible, architectural heritage. Edinburgh World Heritage is proud to have been a partner in the conservation of this very special concert hall and exhibition space which reminds us that Edinburgh has always been, and should remain, a city in which art, music and ideas intermingle and flourish.’

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

21 Apr 2017

St Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh

Date: 1761-63

Architect: Robert Milne

St Cecilia’s Hall Building Reopening
21st April 2017 – We are delighted to announce the forthcoming reopening of St Cecilia’s Hall, Concert Room & Music Museum.

Following a £6.5million redevelopment, Scotland’s oldest concert hall and musical instrument museum will reopen to the public this May.

Taking inspiration from the shapes and intricacy of our world-class collection of musical instruments, the historic University of Edinburgh building, with its elegant oval concert room and re-displayed galleries, has been thoughtfully restored and re-imagined.

St Cecilia’s Hall is located on Niddry Street. An event to mark the opening of this landmark museum and venue in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town takes place on the 17th May by invite only.

Address: Niddry Street, Cowgate

Built for: Music Society of Edinburgh

Reputedly the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland, and second oldest in the British Isles. The highlight is the oval First Level Concert Hall. It is owned by the University of Edinburgh and displays the Russell Collection of Early Keyboard Instruments.




Edinburgh Old Town

Edinburgh Restaurants

St Cecilia’s Hall context : Smart City Hostel

Edinburgh Walking Tours




Building near to St Cecilia’s Hall include:

Museum of Scotland

Cowgate Housing
Cowgate Housing
photograph © Adrian Welch

Tron Square
Tron Square
image © Adrian Welch

Edinburgh Court Building
Edinburgh Court Building
photo © Adrian Welch

Scottish Storytelling Centre
Scottish Storytelling Centre
photograph © Adrian Welch

Old Town Housing
Old Town Housing
photograph © Adrian Welch

Radisson Edinburgh
Radisson Edinburgh Hotel
photo © Adrian Welch

St Giles Cathedral

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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St Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh : page