Oxford University has appointed a specialist acoustician to help create a new concert hall to rival the best in the world.
The 500-seat concert hall will be part of the University’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, which has been made possible by a £150 million gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms.
The appointed acoustician is Ian Knowles of the global engineering and consultancy firm Arup. Mr Knowles has previously been responsible for the outstanding acoustics at venues including Milton Court at the Barbican for the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Stoller Hall for Chethams School of Music and Hallé St Peter’s in Manchester. He also specialises in broadcast and orchestral recording facilities, having led projects for the BBC and Sky.
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre will be located on the University’s Radcliffe Observatory Quarter site, near the Woodstock Road. The Centre will provide a new home for Oxford’s humanities with state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching, a dedicated hub for engagement with schools, a new Institute for Ethics in AI, a new Humanities Library, and much-needed space for Humanities graduate students and researchers.
Subject to planning permission, it is hoped that the building will open in the 2024/25 academic year.
The high-quality acoustics of the concert hall will allow for the performance of a wide spectrum of acoustic music, ranging from solo recitals and small-scale chamber music right through to chamber orchestra with dozens of musicians.