The Peopleâ€™s Palace Official re-opening of the refurbished venue featuring the London Chamber Orchestra. Wednesday 20 March 2013
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Introduction from the Principal
I am delighted to welcome you to this very special concert performed by the London Chamber Orchestra, which marks the official re-opening of the historic People’s Palace at Queen Mary, University of London. events and through collaborations with arts and cultural organisations. Tonight’s concert highlights one of these successful partnerships - the London Chamber Orchestra are now resident in the People’s Palace and are working on a number of projects with the Centre for Digital Music in our School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.
The College can trace its roots to the establishment of the original People’s Palace in 1887- a philanthropic initiative to provide East Londoners with educational, cultural and social activities. That building was destroyed by fire in 1931, but was replaced with the art-deco theatre you are sitting in today. It was opened by George VI on 13 February 1937, which was the first public engagement of the new King. Although this building has been modified several times during its history, the latest refurbishment is the most sympathetic of the various schemes. Overseen by Berman Guedes Stretton Architects, the project has restored many historical elements of the building alongside the implementation of numerous upgrades to sound, lighting, audiovisual and theatre systems. Queen Mary now looks forward to sharing this facility with its numerous partners and with the local community through a wide range of public
The Project Working Group for the People's Palace refurbishment was chaired by Professor Philip Ogden, and tonight we are also celebrating his significant contributions to the development of Queen Mary. Philip joined the College in 1973, and during the intervening 40 years he has held many senior positions including Head of the School of Geography, Vice Principal for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Senior Vice Principal. In addition, for the bulk of the last decade Philip has had a particular responsibility for the development of the College's estate. He has overseen a large number of new building and refurbishment projects in this period, which have had an impact on the quality of the environment for students, staff and all users of our campuses that is hard to overstate. I am therefore delighted that we can recognise his many achievements at tonight's re-opening event. I do hope that you enjoy the concert and I would like to thank you for joining us as we start a new chapter in the history of this iconic venue. Professor Simon Gaskell
Principal Queen Mary, University of London
The People’s Palace reopening programme 3
This year the College unveiled a £6m refurbishment of the People’s Palace, giving this much-loved art-deco gem on the Mile End Road a new lease of life – the perfect way to mark the 125th anniversary of the original People’s Palace.
It’s a Jubilee year and the Queen makes her way from Buckingham Palace to attend the opening ceremony of a new grand project in east London, which will provide stunning new recreational facilities for local people. The streets are lined with patriotic, cheering crowds. The following day, The Times reports that the East End was a “remarkable display of brilliant and striking colours” while “flags innumerable floated over the roofs”. The year is 1887. The People’s Palace brought culture, entertainment and education to enrich the lives of the local people; more prosaically, it was a distraction from the gin-palaces of the day. Entertainment included everything from donkey and art shows, to dances and concerts. There was also a swimming pool, library and, later on, a gymnasium, roller-skating rink and a Winter Garden filled with exotic plants and trees. In the early days it was a great success: the Palace Journal said that on the Bank
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Holiday of 1888 the Palace attracted 26,000 visitors, while attendance at Sunday concerts was said to be in excess of 3,000. But these events were expensive, and the Palace quickly struggled to fund the recreational side of its programme. It was also criticised for lacking focus and wasting money. By 1890, the Drapers’ Company had stepped in, effectively taking control of the whole project, and funding the majority of the Palace’s later additions. Meanwhile, the Technical Schools, which opened in 1888 and were funded by the Drapers’ Company, flourished. In 1889-90, the evening classes attracted 77,143 attendees and, by 1893, 350 poor boys from the local area attended the day technical school. Out of this developed the London Technical College, which eventually joined the University of London in 1907. The fire and its aftermath On the 25 February 1931, the Queen’s Hall
was used for a boxing competition until 11pm. At around 3am that night a fire was reported. The Hall was completely destroyed, but the College and Winter Garden survived. The new People’s Palace In 1936 a new People’s Palace was built to the west of the original site. Designed in the art-deco style, the building was built of Portland Stone and red brick, and it’s imposing façade – with its reliefs by Eric Gill – would have been a striking addition to Mile End Road. In keeping with the spirit and purpose of the original Palace, it was built as a theatre, cinema and music hall and was run successfully on that basis for a number of years. But following a decline in revenues, it was purchased by the College in 1954. The College extensively refurbished the building, moving the entrance away from the Mile End Road to the east side of the building, facing
into the College, and also building a passage linking it to the Queens’ Building. The latest restoration works Completed in September 2012, the latest refurbishments are the most sympathetic of the various restoration schemes. Their purpose was to restore historic elements of the recently Grade II listed building as well as make it more comfortable, with up-to-date sound, lighting, audio-visual and theatre systems. In the Great Hall, the original 1930s colour scheme was discovered under layers of paint that had built up over the years, and was recreated. The Hall’s wooden floorboards have been cleaned and, using old photographs, the decorative lantern in centre of the hall has been reproduced. The Grade II listed Rutt pipe organ – one of the best examples of its type – has been restored and the old projection room high up in the roof has been returned to use. But the works have been about more than a
faithful restoration of the Great Hall. The building’s infrastructure has received a muchneeded upgrade. New automatic cooling and ventilation systems have been introduced to cope with the heat produced by the Hall’s 900capacity audience. In addition, new theatre lighting and audio-visual systems have been installed, as well as removable tiered seating so that the Hall can be used for lectures. Another key feature of the works has been the refurbishment and extension of the Foyer area, to create more and better break-out space. There is now a new bar, cloakroom, box office and a mezzanine level. As well as creating an attractive new gathering space for students during term, this new space is ideal for use with commercial events. The works have thrown up a number of interesting discoveries. Fragments of murals by the artist Phyllis Bray – a member of the East London Group of artists popular in the 1920s
and 1930s – were found in a space behind the Skeel Lecture Theatre. Depicting music, dance and theatre, a surviving part of the murals has been removed from the wall and remounted on a staircase above the foyer so people can see it once again. The building’s original art-deco fire exits signs were also discovered in a forgotten corner of the cellars, and are now back in use, having received the nod of approval from the fire officer. Professor Philip Ogden, Senior Adviser to the Principal and Chair of the Project Working Group said that the restoration of the People's Palace marks another important step in the College's commitment to look after its listed buildings: “The restoration complements the work completed on the Octagon some five years ago. The two together now give us public spaces of first-class quality, for the use and enjoyment of the whole College. Nick Sarson The People’s Palace reopening programme 5
London Chamber Orchestra The London Chamber Orchestra (LCO), one of the world’s finest ensembles, combines the charismatic leadership of Principal Conductor Christopher Warren-Green with the skills of London’s most exceptional musicians.
LCO is a non-profit making organisation funded by corporate and private sponsors and has received no public subsidy during its 90-year history. In 2012, the LCO moved into offices in the People’s Palace as part of a partnership developed with Queen Mary, University of London.
Christopher Warren-Green LCO Music Director & Principal Conductor
Alongside its established chamber orchestra repertoire, LCO is dedicated to the promotion of new work. Its concerts regularly feature international solo artists as well as promoting and supporting promising young talent. LCO enjoys the Patronage of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall along with support from an enthusiastic and loyal worldwide audience. In 2011 it was highly honoured to be invited to perform at the wedding service of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to an estimated global audience of 2 billion people.
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Music Director of the Charlotte Symphony and London Chamber orchestras, this season Warren-Green returns to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducts the world premiere of Frank Corcoran's Violin Concerto with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin. He also returns to the St Louis Symphony and, following his acclaimed debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in December 2011, he was immediately re-invited for the 2012/13 season. Other highlights this season include performances with the Orchestre National de Belgique and his Italian debut with Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali. Last season he debuted with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Zürcher Kammerorchester, and returned to the Sapporo Symphony, Armenia Philharmonic and London Philharmonic orchestras.
Warren-Green has been personally invited to conduct on many occasions for the Royal Family in the last thirty years. In April 2011, Warren-Green conducted the London Chamber Orchestra during the marriage ceremony of HRH Prince William Duke of Cambridge and HRH Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey, which was televised to millions worldwide. Other notable occasions have included Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations at Kew Palace and HRH Prince of Wales’ 60th birthday concert. Warren-Green also conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra for the Service of Dedication and Prayer (celebrating the marriage of HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Duchess of Cornwall) in 2005. Warren-Green has recorded extensively for Sony, Phillips, Virgin, EMI, Chandos and Deustche Grammophon, and regularly records with the London Chamber Orchestra for Signum Classics. He is a regular on UK television and radio, and has featured as a mentor on the BBC’s high-profile television series ‘Maestro’.
20th March 2013
The London Chamber Orchestra Christopher Warren-Green - Conductor Hubert Best - Organ
David Theodore Alison Alty
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - 18 minutes Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G Minor. 22 minutes Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) Symphony No 5 in C Minor - 31 minutes Ludwig van Beethoven
Violin Rosemary Furniss Anna Blackmur Alan Brind Julia Burkert Manon Derome Magnus Johnston Sophie Lockett Kirsty Mangan Ciaran McCabe Gina McCormack Jeremy Morris Marie Ploemacher Sarah Sew Charles Sewart Alan Uren Catherine van de Geest Tim Wright Rob Yeomans
Hubert Best - Organ
Louise Williams Kate Musker Becky Low Graeme McKean Mariam Ruetschi Francis Kefford
Cello Robert Max Pierre Doumenge Cara Berridge Katherine Jenkinson
Double Bass Stacey Watton Claire Whitson Andrew Marshall
Clarinet Chris Richards Kimon Parry
Bassoon Richard Skinner Julie Andrews Contrabassoon Iona Garvie
Horn Michael Thompson Gavin Edwards Nicholas Fleury Elise Campbell
Trumpet Neil Brough Simon Gabriel
Trombone Simon Gunton Steve Turton Paul Lambert
Tuba David Powell
Harp Rachel Masters
Timpani Tristan Fry
Percussion Adrian Bending Julian Poole
Flute Karen Jones Chris Hankin
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The People’s Palace re-opening programme
Tonight’s performance by the London Chamber Orchestra rounds off what has been a truly exciting programme of events celebrating the reopening of our Great Hall here at Queen Mary. Engaging the public, in innovative ways, is at the core of our strategic purpose. The Great Hall was originally envisaged as a site of public education and entertainment, and I am pleased that this programme has seen our return to that. Our Centre for Public Engagement is developing in our staff and students the skills, support and capacity needed for Queen Mary to be even more engaged with its local communities and the wider public, and you can already see the effects; the Water City Festival was a resounding success that saw an orchestra come together in just a weekend to explore our locality here in east London, whilst the Peopling the Palace events truly occupied the Great Hall as a physical and intellectual space. This programme is a beginning, a beacon for our staff, students and external partners, a call to arms. We can achieve marvellous things with the right partners and I look forward to seeing what we come up with in the future. Peter McOwan Vice-Principal, External Partnerships and Public Engagement
Water City Festival ‘Orchestra in a Weekend’ 1-3 February
Inaugural Organ Recital 7 February
Russell Kane ‘Posturing Delivery’ 11 February
The sound of sea shanties and pounding drums announced the arrival of guests to the People’s Palace at the Water City Festival classical concert, celebrating the past, present and future of east London.
The superb 1936 Spurden-Rutt organ was successfully restored, and celebrated at an inaugural recital given by the Director of Music of this College, Alan Wilson. The organ is the original one from the rebuilt People’s Palace, untouched until the faithful restoration by the Village Workshop (organ-builder: David Stalley) in 2012 (Organ Consultant: John Norman). It is a fine 3 manual concert instrument with a colourful and diverse stop specification. The programme began with a short talk by Professor Donald Preece on the former organs of the Beaumont Institution and the First People’s Palace, along with a description of this instrument.
As part of his brand new national ‘Posturing Delivery’ live tour, Russell Kane (star of BBC Three’s Unzipped and Live At The Electric) took to the stage in the Great Hall to perform an exclusive gig to staff and students at Queen Mary. Support act Iain Stirling (As seen on Russell Howard’s Good News and Comedy At The Fringe) kicked off the evening of stand up comedy, with Russell Kane following as the main act, performing material from his current UK tour.
Around 30 students and staff from the Queen Mary Music Society performed alongside the Water City Festival Orchestra - a showcase ensemble for musicians and artists living, studying and working in and around the East End. An orchestra of more than 100 players, local singer Akash Sottar and QM Director of Music Alan Wilson were among performers playing pieces which included Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, Sibelius ‘Karelia Suite’, and SaintSaëns ‘Danse Macabre’. A film produced by Mile End Films explored east London’s story, from the 1800s to the future, and was screened around the Great Hall as music played.
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Peopling the Palace 17 - 24 February
Music Society Gala Concert 14 March
In a twenty-first century take on its original ethos, the People’s Palace at Queen Mary University of London opened again, with eight days of public events for the refreshment of bodies and souls. Peopling the Palace consisted of a programme of films, exhibitions and plenty of time for conversation and refreshment throughout the week, including an on-going exhibition of the Geography Department’s Poster Project. It also recounted the history of the People’s Palace and the installation of the Film department’s Working Day, a compilation film composed of extracts selected from the archive of British film. Peopling the Palace was a collaboration between staff and students in the Drama, Film, Geography and Media Arts Technology Departments at Queen Mary University of London and the Live Art Development Agency. Produced by AiR Project and funded by the Centre of Public Engagement, Queen Mary.
The Music Society’s annual spring concert was a historical survey through music and readings of the formation and development of Queen Mary, University of London. It took as its starting point the formation of the original colleges of Queen Mary, Westfield College, Barths and London Colleges. Tributes were especially paid to Constance Maynard, First Principal of Westfield College and Robert Tong, Registrar of Queen Mary College, both of whom had a significant influence on music and literature. The programme journeys through the amalgamation of these Colleges, and how music has contributed. Alan Wilson, who has been Director of Music at QM since 1976, looked back over memorable musical moments and the concert was given by the choir and orchestra of the QM Music Society, built up of students and staff from this College.
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Published on Oct 12, 2014