Gwilym Simcock at Stoller Hall
Concert Stoller Hall, Chetham's School, Manchester 12/01/18
This was a concert featuring the celebrated pianist Gwylim Simcock, a past pupil of Chetham's, and the Northern Chamber Orchestra, with some of the Young Players from Chetham's.
The Stoller Hall was opened in April 2017, won a National RIBA award, and is an innovative and adapatable performance/concert space attached to the historic Chetham's School of Music in the heart of the city, right next to Victoria Station. It has been designed to fill a need for a more intimate concert venue which delivers a high standard of design and acoustic performance.
The Hall has a welcoming light and airy feel on immediate entry, with high ceilings and plenty of room to relax with a drink before the performance. There is a bar and cafe seating, as well as space to wander about and admire the clean, fresh design of the new space. Staff are very helpful and attentive, the young lady at the booking desk was particularly so, with a last minute seating change request. The quality of acoustics even extends to this area, making it relaxing and pleasant to linger in before the performance.
The concert area is again, a modern, light and comfortable space, very comfortable seating and leg room, graduated rows so everyone has a good view. It is blessed with the most wonderful acoustics imaginable and the peace and silence of the building is very restful.
Truly a thrill to hear music performed with such clarity. The concert was a blend of classical pieces by Tippett, performed by the NCO initially, and then a piece by Haydn, the NCO joined by youngsters from Chethams and Gwylim, then a Debussy piece arranged by Gwylim himself, the result was an interesting mix, unusual and arresting, combining jazz piano and classical playing with energy, intensity and great skill.
The more classic pieces were also beautifully executed, benefiting from the crystal clear sound in the auditorium, and the whole programme was hugely appreciated by the audience. The Chethams young players seemed to revel in their performance and were a pleasure to watch and listen to.
All in all, a lovely evening.
By Christine Ince for Canal St Online.
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