Maurizio Pollini’s six decades of exceptional pianism at Southbank Centre

pollini-01‘That boy can play better than any of us’ Arthur Rubinstein

Maurizio Pollini is one of the great piano legends, with a career spanning nearly 60 years. With his unaffected manner and an elegant clarity to his playing, Pollini has brought his individual voice to all musical styles from the 1700s to the present day. Ahead of his two recitals in spring, we’ve looked into our Southbank Centre archive to explore six decades of Pollini’s performances.

Pollini is now considered by many to be one of the world’s most outstanding pianists. Yet he was only 18 when he obtained international recognition, by winning first prize at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1960.

It was three years later that the maestro made his debut in London in a concert in 1963 at Royal Festival Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Pierre Monteux, the repertoire chosen for Pollini’s first solo performance was:

TCHAIKOVSKY Fantasy Overture, Romeo and Juliet

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37

SCHUBERT Symphony No.9 in C (Great)

In the early 70s, Pollini began to establish an international career of the greatest importance. In 1971, he signed with Deutsche Grammophon and released his first recordings on the German label; these included Stravinsky’s Three Movements from Petrushka and Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata.

With regular appearances in music centres around the world, Pollini began the career of piano superstar.


Fact: Pollini’s strong political convictions formed an important part of his musical life, improving his technique by playing in factories for causes such as peace in Vietnam with Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and Italian composer Luigi Nono. He also performed concerts in the neighbourhoods around Reggio Emilia and recitals for students at La Scala, animated by their ideals of justice and peace.

The collaboration between Abbado and Pollini continued after those years, with several concerts held at Royal Festival Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Pollini began the 80s at Southbank Centre, with a televised opening season concert playing Mozart’s D Minor Concerto with Sir Georg Solti and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He continued to give several recitals in Royal Festival Hall throughout the decade as well as a  performance in 1983 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Masse by Giacomo Manzoni written as a homage to Varese, the first explorer of Manzoni’s favourite musical sounds was part of that evening’s repertoire.

Fact: New York, 1987: Under the direction of Claudio Abbado, the maestro played the complete piano concertos of Ludwig van Beethoven with the Vienna Philharmonic. On this occasion he received the orchestra’s Honorary Ring.

In 1996, Pollini brought back his superb pianism to Royal Festival Hall with the Beethoven Sonata Cycle

The audience was taken on an intense journey through eight recitals, that followed the chronological order in which Beethoven wrote his works, with the exception of Opus 49.

Pollini demonstrated how great playing can be achieved through quiet, undemonstrative means.’ Annette Morreau, 16 December 1996 – The Independent

Pollini’s career in London in the new millennium was full of highlights. These included a performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in honour of their 75th birthday in 2007; and the Pollini Project in 2011, where he embarked on a five-recital pilgrimage, with the concerts spanning 250 years of piano repertoire from Bach to Boulez.

‘I like their way of listening and their deep interest in music, and so I thought it was possible to do something larger and different. I have played these works many times and they are all extraordinarily important works for the piano. Put together, they form something of a line, something of a story of piano music. But it is not a rigorous or strict line. They are closely connected to me and my overall musical interests, so it is also my personal line and, in a way, my personal story.’ Pollini on London audience

Fact: The opening of the Pollini Project in London was signposted by the arrival of a brand new favourite piano: a Steinway concert grand refined by the Italian piano technician Angelo Fabbrini.

‘I have played a recital in London more or less every year throughout my career and have a very strong relationship with the London public (…)’ Maurizio Pollini

With his two upcoming recitals, Maurizio Pollini’s cumulative appearances at Southbank Centre add up to 133 performances.

His recitals have made a major contribution to the International Piano Series as one of the most prestigious piano recital series in London, where fans  can see him playing alongside the emerging talents aspiring to Pollini’s greatness.

Mr. Pollini is represented by HarrisonParrot and records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon.

QEH Roof Garden – Spring Update

An update from one of our garden volunteers…


Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden has now reopened, and visitors are returning. Among them are regular fans and first-timers who have never seen it before.

It’s always exciting to greet people when they arrive. Visitors are blown away to find a wildflower and vegetable garden growing peacefully at the top of the yellow staircase. They are amazed to hear the story of how this mature garden flourishes on what was once a bare concrete plateau. That story begins and ends with Grounded Ecotherapy: Recovery for people and places, which created and continue to run the garden.

Only two thirds of the garden are open to the public this year. Work overhead on the Hayward Gallery building means the shady woodland area over the bridge is temporarily out of bounds.

You might think our resident birds would have chosen to nest elsewhere in greater peace, but the blackbird is raising a brood (first clutch of eggs already hatched) in the pergola where the tiny yellow roses of rosa banksiae are already in full bloom. It’s lovely to hear the parent birds singing among the leaves, right beside people sitting and chatting at the tables.


We also have hedge sparrows nesting, and the first butterflies and bees are returning. If it weren’t for the garden and the food and shelter it offers wildlife, then birdsong and the hum of bees would rarely be heard anywhere in the concrete canyons of Southbank Centre.

The popularity of the garden grows year on year, and last season was another hard one for the lawn. Coupled with a wet winter, the wear and tear of thousands of feet took their toll and the garden needed re-turfing while it was closed.

Once again, this hard task was made much easier for Grounded’s volunteer gardeners by the invaluable help of the GoodGym runners, who appear to positively relish the challenge of bringing the heavy rolls of turf up to the garden from the delivery area downstairs. No light task in any sense, and one for which we are extremely grateful.

The wildflower meadow is already lush and green, its many species of native wildflower each poised to break into full bloom at their appointed time. The trees are in leaf, and red campion, yellow charlock and the delicate white flowers of greater stitchwort are all out.

Despite a winter during which we often couldn’t get into the garden because of the renovation works, the vegetable boxes are now looking beautiful, having been prepared and given a layer of new compost. Onions, garlic, coriander, potatoes and some salads have been planted, with tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins and many other crops to follow.

As well as our normal public visitors, on a sunny Friday 13 May Grounded Ecotherapy’s gardeners played host to part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of Us. This day allows Southbank Centre workers to choose from a huge list of activities and get a taste of something new.

Over 50 people chose to learn more about gardening from Grounded. Total beginners and greener fingers alike came in both the day’s two groups, and they all had a great time getting their hands dirty.

They learned how to make funky pots from recycled plastic food containers, and how to sow into them the tiny seeds of mixed salad leaves and oriental salads such as mizuna and mibuna. Afterwards, they were able to take home for their own windowsills a crop that can be eaten as microgreens. They also planted pea shoots to take home for later consumption as a delicious cut-and-come-again crop.

They helped the garden by planting all the sunflower seeds and runner bean seeds we saved from our plants last year. When they look out Royal Festival Hall’s windows this summer, or visit us, they will see the fruits of their work.

It was great to meet everyone, and they told us they’d had a brilliant time, which is our best reward. Thank you Southbankers, and a special thank you to the kind afternoon group for helping Grounded pack away our equipment, thus saving us many hard slogs to our store.

So the garden is poised to plunge into another Southbank Centre summer. As life seems to get ever more hectic, gardens are becoming less a luxury and more a vital necessity. Grounded are very proud that the roof garden has been able to remain open while the major renovation works carry on all around (and underneath) us. We hope the garden will once again provide a haven of quiet and beauty for many in the middle of the busy city.


Adventures of Grounded EcoTherapy


image credit: Ollie Smallwood

The summer season of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden has come to an end. The garden has closed to the public for the winter months but will open again in spring 2016. It’s been a really busy summer for the gardeners, on site at Southbank Centre and further afield. We have asked them to tell you a little bit about their summer adventures…

Grounded EcoTherapy:  Recovery for people and places, are your neighbours on the South Bank.   We are the team who set up, and now look after,  the much-loved roof garden familiar to all South-Bankers on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Some of you will know that as well as being gardeners we are a team of vulnerable adults who have had problems with addiction, mental health issues, homelessness, or all three.  Working with Grounded is the first regular commitment most of us have made in many years.  Through gardening at Southbank Centre, and at other London sites, and through working with others, we gradually regain self-respect and calmness.

We wanted to share with you a couple of things that have made 2015 a particularly exciting year for Grounded.


image credit: Ollie Smallwood

In June, a small team of us got the chance to take a stall in the Green Futures Field at Glastonbury Festival.   The trip was largely funded by an extraordinary effort made by our team of gardeners, we worked really hard in our own time to put together the money needed.  At Glastonbury we pitched our unique bodgers (green woodworkers) bothy, made by ourselves from recycled timber and sacking.   Here we set about spreading the message of Grounded Ecotherapy.  The stall was hugely popular, and hundreds of people visited it, and stayed to chat, drink chai, and chill out with us.   Here they could learn the basics of green woodworking, sitting on a shaving horse and using a draw knife to carve themselves a spatula.  Others made Wild Mobiles choosing from our huge store of salvaged beach jetsam and shells to construct their own hanging work of art!  We decorated the stall with the mobiles, and brought them back to hang in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden – a link to Glastonbury and the many friends we made there.   We were so proud of how the stall worked out, and how people really loved it.


image credit: Ollie Smallwood


image credit: Ollie Smallwood


image credit: Ollie Smallwood

At the end of July, having been invited to take part in Shuffle Festival, a week-long film and events festival in Mile End, Grounded were given a space and we built another even bigger bodgers camp in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.    Here we lived for the week, cooking on open fires and again talking with visitors about the work of Grounded Ecotherapy.   We became one of the main attractions of the festival as people were drawn to the camp, and again stayed to talk over the fire with chai and toasted marshmallows.  Green woodworking, mobile making and live music were a big draw and the last night saw a crowd of over 50 enjoying the fires and each other’s company.


image credit: Ollie Smallwood


image credit: Ollie Smallwood

It’s been a busy year!   And it’s going to be a busy winter.   As gardeners will know, work never stops in a garden.   Some may think that during the colder months the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden is deserted.   In reality it is busier than ever.   We are up there, whatever the weather, repairing and constructing, sowing seeds and looking after trees and plants, so that the Garden can bloom again beautifully in the Spring and survive the rigours of another busy Summer.  Last winter was taken up among other tasks with building around 25 new vegetable boxes from scratch.  This winter our big jobs will include building new boxes for the olive trees, and sourcing and bringing in new logs to replace all the ones around the edges of the meadow and woodland gardens, which are now rotten.   Our 6 year-old greenhouse has seen much action and needs renovating, and the supports for the rose arbour all need replacing.  We laid a new lawn this Spring, but the feet of many thousands of visitors have taken their toll, and it needs replacing again.   It will be cold when the icy wind blows off the river under the concrete overhang of the Hayward Gallery, but we love the work, and are mainly just so proud and happy that the Garden will be staying throughout the renovation works at the Southbank, and delighting visitors again come the Spring.

Meltdown Stories: An Afternoon Spent With Lonnie Holley

On a rainy Monday afternoon, Meltdown Media journalists Clara and Maxine made their way backstage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall to meet Lonnie Holley.

A rush of excitement and nerves flowed as we went over our meticulously crafted questions outside the door of the green room. For those of you who don’t know Lonnie Holley, he is a sculpture artist and experimental improvising musician. His musical work is often categorised as ‘uncategorised’ but you might say it centres on a mixture of jazz and folk. Our relaxed meeting with Lonnie revolved around topics such as the brain, his respect for our Queen and grapevines.

If you are aware of Lonnie you will have no doubt heard of his perplexing upbringing: Lonnie Bradley Holley Sr. was born in 1950’s Birmingham, Alabama, into a large family of 27 children. Lonnie was sold for a pint of whiskey at the age of four; and so the story to Lonnie’s heartening 65 years begins.

We were greeted with a warm welcome by Lonnie, who was improvising at the piano preparing for his performance later on that evening. He invited us to pull up a chair and our discussion began. Asked about the presence of music in his upbringing he said: “If one would say taking music, no; doing music, yes. My grandfather sung all day long, my grandfather was in World War I, and he sung there. And when he came back home, he sung at home… I love music, I can’t help it. Music has been a mother and a father for me. Music’s been a friend for me.”

From music we moved on to talk about Lonnie’s second passion, his sculpture. Lonnie has been creating abstract works since the 80’s and has been credited by institutes such as the Smithsonian. He recalled his desire to sculpt from a young age: “I see my whole life as being an artist because up and down the ditch, digging worms I’d run across broken glass, broken bricks, broken rocks and things – I moved roots. Same thing I’m doing now… A lot of times I would stack that in a certain way that I liked because it was beautiful to me.”

The majority of Lonnie’s sculpture incorporates upcycled materials and natural resources such as sand. Lonnie explained his choice of resources: “Everything I touched I tried to make sure it got understood as something. Not no piece of garbage – stop doing that to the human brain. Let’s get trash out of our vocabulary. Let’s move some things in order to make it better for what? Our mother universe.”

When asked which came first, his sculptures or his music Lonnie said they existed simultaneously. He describes the unity between his work as like Siamese twins: “They come from the same place, same brain. I haven’t created a greater love for either one of them.”

At the end of the interview Lonnie asked for a wire hanger from his dressing room and gave us a quick demonstration of his work. We were intrigued to see what Lonnie was going to do with this piece of metal. As we watched him bend the hanger and manipulate its shape, we were awed to see how he transformed this everyday object into the face of a woman. The piece is called ‘Any spoonful of knowledge will do’. We were lucky enough to film the entire process. Clara Thomas

See it here.

Later that evening, Lonnie’s gig began in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The supporting act of the evening was Alexis Taylor, who created an easy-going vibe, playing the keyboard and singing soothing vocals alongside his band.

After the interval, Lonnie came on stage with his live band and was welcomed by the cheering crowd. Seated at his keyboard, the 65-year-old performed songs from his Just Before Music album, including ‘All Rendered Truth’, released in 2012. Singing distinctive and resonating vocals, Lonnie’s improvisational performance truly showed his creative and artistic character. His imaginative lyrics and expressive vocals created a dream-like environment.

Throughout the set, musicians from his band each had solo sections, including the double bass, drums and keyboard. The blend of instrumentals in this performance, mixed with Lonnie’s harmonious vocals made for a highly original sound.

Alexis Taylor joined him on keyboards towards the end of the set, and at the finish, the whole band took a bow and thanked crowd for their support. Maxine Harrison

Meltdown continues this weekend: look on the Southbank Centre Meltdown site for details.

The best tools for the job: putting old string instruments in new hands

Artist Louise Kaye and her husband David have an unusual relationship with the team of world-class musicians they have assembled for a charity concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 22 June. Louise explains:

‘Two unrelated facts triggered my desire to support Parkinson’s UK by organising this concert. First of all, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s five years ago, at the age of 55. David had, we realised, been showing symptoms for at least five years before that.

Secondly, we are fortunate to be friends with many top-notch musicians around the world. As well as travelling far and wide to attend their concerts and recitals, we enjoy providing a home base for them when they are passing through London. We are not musicians ourselves, but over the past 12 years we have bought a number of fine old string instruments and two bows which are now on long-term loan to eight musicians, five of whom will be playing on 22 June.

Louise Kaye

Louise Kaye

It all began when we had been following the development of the Jerusalem Quartet over a few years and had a chance to meet them at a house concert. We then discovered that Amihai Grosz, who was then the violist with the quartet, was the only one playing a modern instrument which was not close to the league of the other three instruments. Having been told that buying good string instruments was an excellent investment we decided to buy Amihai a viola. He was very much involved with the selection of the instrument, and it took about 10 months to find the right one, made by Gasparo da Salò around 1570.  It was much more expensive than the budget we had given him, but in the end we decided that it was such a marvellous instrument and he was worthy of it, so we went ahead and bought it.  We have not regretted our decision for a moment. He is now the section leader for the Berliner Philharmoniker, a position he gained partly because of the tone of the instrument.

Each time we have purchased a new instrument it has been because we first developed a relationship with the musician and loved their playing.  We could see that, like Amihai, a better instrument would help them reach greater heights in their careers. Our intention is that each musician will keep the instrument for the duration of their professional career.  Then it will be passed on to another player in their late twenties or early thirties, also for the duration of their career.

Of course, this means that our purchases are not really an investment in financial terms, as we do not intend to resell them, but they are definitely an investment in people, and all eight of the players have become an extension of our family. They are more than happy to give something back to us by doing a fundraising concert such as this one.’

Violist Jennifer Stumm is one of the musicians whose instrument was bought by Louise and David. She talks about what it’s like playing a viola made in around 1590:

Jennifer Stumm

Jennifer Stumm

‘There are obvious advantages to having as excellent a tool as possible with which to ply one’s trade–one drives faster in a faster car!  But the relationship of string instrument to player involves so much more–a true melding of personalities. There is magic in how this thing, with which you spend most of your time, connects you with 400 years of history, and how its sound has been moulded by so many hands. It’s a privilege to be a link in that chain. It reminds me of the power of history and human connection and expression—the reasons I play classical music in the first place.’

Like Louise and David Kaye, violist Ori Kam has personal reasons for giving his time and talents to this concert:

‘My uncle has been living with Parkinson’s for 20 years. Another friend has Parkinson’s as well. A small number of diseases like HIV and Cancer take up most of our collective attention and funding, so it’s important not to forget to support research for other conditions. We musicians receive so much support from audiences, individuals and from society in general, when I have the opportunity to do something for the greater good I don’t think twice.’

The concert on 22 June at Queen Elizabeth Hall includes Brahms’ Sextet No.2 and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Souvenir de Florence’.


Guy Braunstein violin
Tai Murray violin
Ori Kam viola
Jennifer Stumm viola
Richard Harwood cello
Adi Tal cello
Kyril Zlotnikov cello
Tom Poster piano

Book now

One person in every 500 has Parkinson’s. That’s about 127,000 people in the UK. All proceeds from this concert will support the work of Parkinson’s UK – funding research, awareness-raising, and vital emotional and practical support for people with Parkinson’s, their families and carers.

Benjamin Grosvenor & Endellion String Quartet




At just 21 years old, British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor has already established a formidable reputation as a solo performer, and as his repertoire continues to rapidly expand, chamber music is exerting an irresistible pull. ‘I would not want to sacrifice one form of music making over another,’ he stresses, ‘but out of solo playing, concertos and chamber music, it’s the latter that perhaps appeals to me the most. The intimacy of a small ensemble allows for a collaborative experience where all musicians are involved: rehearsals become at best a frank exchange of ideas, and one learns new things from the other players.’

Grosvenor recently toured with the Escher Quartet, performing Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No.2 in A major, and has earmarked the Schumann, Elgar and two Fauré quintets for future performances, along with ‘a whole host of trios and quartets’. He has not played a lot of Brahms so far in his career, but the composer’s Op.34 Piano Quintet that brings him together with the Endellion Quartet tonight is a piece that Grosvenor first encountered at the age of 14. ‘I studied it for music A-level,’ he says. ‘I was struck when I first heard it by its great emotional depth, by the dramatic, unsettling nature of the outer movements and scherzo, and by the tenderness of the Schubertian slow movement.’


The Brahms quintet is certainly a favourite of the Endellion Quartet, whose cellist David Waterman says: ‘It’s probably the piano quintet we play the most. There’s something about the music’s seriousness, weightiness and tragic quality that appeals to us.’ The group worked on the Brahms with Grosvenor last year, in what was their first collaboration together. What was it like for the young pianist to work alongside chamber musicians with 35 years’ experience of playing together? ‘I learned a lot from them,’ says Grosvenor. ‘At the same time they were open and receptive to my ideas. I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with them again.’

Waterman says that revisiting a piece after a year or several years of not playing it is one of the great pleasures of being in a string quartet, and is one of the reasons why groups like the Endellion keep going for decades. ‘Because the quartet repertoire is so big, we’ll pick up a piece and we might not have played it for five years, so it feels very fresh. We know the piece, but we will completely rethink it and rework it. The breadth of repertoire is one of the keys to our longevity. But pianists have the same advantage, as their repertoire is perhaps broader still.’

With his experience of negotiating such expanses of repertoire, what words of wisdom does Waterman offer the much younger Grosvenor? ‘It’s important to always have new pieces to be studying and considering, and when you revisit an old piece, you need to re-experience it and feel that it is still developing. I think you can only do that by studying the score again, finding more nuances in it, and revising your opinion. When you’re a listener, the best performance is the one that feels as if the piece is being composed afresh in front of you, and it’s the same when you’re performing: you want to feel completely at one with the unfolding of the music in a way that you’ve never done before.’

© Peter Somerford

Tickets to Benjamin Grosvenor & Endellion String Quartet in Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 10 June are available here >>


Southbank Centre announces conservation project for Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery following Arts Council England Grant

Arts Council England is to fund the repair and maintenance of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery with a £16.7m grant. Starting in late 2015, the building conservation project will address a £24m backlog of repairs. The Arts Council grant will meet 70% of the budget, with the remainder to be raised from trusts, philanthropists and audiences.

Southbank Centre is still working to resolve the funding of a wider scheme for the Festival Wing, which will deliver new space for art and culture, alongside major public realm and service improvements. It expects to make recommendations on this scheme in late 2014.

Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of Southbank Centre, said: “We are very grateful to Arts Council England for so generously supporting the urgent repair and maintenance of these iconic 60s buildings. This is an important step for Southbank Centre following the delay to our Festival Wing scheme in February.

“We still aim to create new space for our artistic and cultural programmes, once we have found a way through the substantial remaining funding challenge. This will enable us to meet the huge demand for our work following the refurbishment of Royal Festival Hall.”

Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said: “The Arts Council is pleased to be able to safeguard the future of this vital part of London’s artistic and tourist infrastructure through this capital grant. This grant will enable the Southbank to carry out essential work to enhance its existing space, giving them the right buildings to deliver their fantastic artistic and cultural programme and to bring multiple benefits to the millions of visitors the centre attracts each year.”

Simon Hickman, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas at English Heritage, said: “These uncompromising brutalist buildings reflect radical changes in British society and culture during the era of their design and creation. Their conservation could not be further delayed and we are delighted that Southbank Centre and Arts Council England are prepared to invest in them. This will enable the public to appreciate the buildings and their significance. English Heritage looks forward to working with Southbank Centre and sharing our expertise in the detailed development of the proposal.”

The new building conservation project will improve essential services, environmental performance, infrastructure such as workshops and backstage areas, and disabled access for audiences and artists. It will restore the buildings’ interiors to their original appearance and repair exterior terraces to maintain a key part of the site’s outdoor landscape. It will also replicate the iconic Hayward Gallery Pyramid Roof to allow controlled natural light into the galleries as originally conceived.

The project will include an extensive, permanent programme of learning and participation. This will allow people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the history of these important buildings, helping to change attitudes to 20th century architecture.

Southbank Centre continues to work on its Festival Wing plans with neighbours including the BFI and National Theatre, the GLA and Lambeth Council. It will be making every effort with skateboard groups to resolve their future in the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft, which is the subject of ongoing legal challenge.

For more information please contact Patricia O’Connor, Head of Press, Southbank Centre 7921 0632

Notes to editors

  1. Widely welcomed at launch in March 2013 for its provision of new facilities and public realm improvements, the Festival Wing met sustained objections over proposals to relocate skateboarding from the undercroft of the Queen Elizabeth Hall to under the Hungerford Bridge. Relocation would have allowed the centre to raise £35m from commercial partnerships in order to fund the the Festival Wing. The centre was forced to withhold its scheme in February 2015 due to the large funding gap.
  2. The new building conservation project will prolong the life of the buildings by a generation:
  • replace essential building services including central plant; heating, cooling and ventilation; water supply; lighting, including specialist stage lighting; fire alarm; security; radio; and IT cabling
  • improve infrastructure such as workshops, servicing and storage and dressing rooms, and provide better disabled access for audiences and artists
  • restore the buildings’ interiors to their original appearance, including foyers and entrances, opening up the riverside wall of the QEH foyer with new windows
  • repair exterior terraces to improve drainage and accessibility
  • replicate the iconic Hayward Gallery Pyramid Roof to allow controlled natural light into the galleries as originally conceived, and refurbish the galleries
  • enhance the environmental performance of these 60s buildings, reducing energy consumption

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.