• New Concert Hall for Katowice

Not before time, and after several years of planning, the building contract was signed today for a new concert hall in Katowice, Poland.  Its ambitious completion date is by the end of next year.  It will be the home of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) and will also include a chamber-sized hall.

The new hall will be situated to the north of the city centre, not far from where the composers Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Witold Szalonek lived, as well as the conductor Jan Krenz.  Its near neighbours will be the monument to the three Silesian Uprisings of 1919-21

and the Flying Saucer arena (Spodek), below.  I remember being taken aback by both the monument (1967) and this space-age construction (1971) as I walked to my first meeting with Górecki in Spring 1972.

The new concert hall will seat 1800, the chamber hall 300.  Here’s a promotional and rather stylish virtual tour of the new building, with both the monument and the arena appearing in the final image. The building’s columnar exterior seems to be a reference to the architecture of the brown-brick miners’ community built outside Katowice at Nikiszowiec at the start of the 20th century.  It is well worth a visit.

Although the video’s sound-track uses Brahms, I’m told that the huge music relief on the curved wall in the atrium will be from the manuscript of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

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