Announced today. The BBC Symphony Orchestra along with the BBC Singers will move into new premises in East London in 2022/23.
It’s not a complete surprise. Many who work at the BBCSO’s present home have vigorously pointed to the former skating rink’s unsuitability as a base for the orchestra. In particular its music library which was, the last time I was in there, prone to leaks in the roof whenever there was rain over Maida Vale.
And given that most of the BBC’s other orchestras have purpose-built premises designed for their primary function as a radio orchestra, it seems only right that the flagship band gets an upgrade.
But there’s a sting in the tail. The BBC’s Maida Vale studios may no longer be fit for purpose, but they are even more part of the Corporation’s fabric than Television Centre was. Historic recordings were made at Maida Vale (not just classical music but in multiple genres). It is an incredible location, and part of the organisation’s history.
I notice the press release makes absolutely no mention of Maida Vale, suggesting its another building the BBC will sell off. It’s a bold move to make such a break with the past. Celebrating the past is an absolute must. Maybe we’ll see that when the BBC marks its centenary in 2022.