The first performance inside the new-look Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is due to take place this evening following the completion of a £13.8m refurbishment led by contractor Gilbert-Ash and architect Caruso St John.
The 1939 grade 2*-listed hall on Hope Street closed for work at the end of May. A separate phase of the project is due to finish next year.
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Phase one focused on the main hall and included the auditorium, all public, front of house spaces, and backstage dressing rooms.
Phase two will include the building of a new, smaller venue that will be used for performances and the hall's learning programme; and backstage production facilities, warm-up rooms, office accommodation. Phase two is due to be fully completed in summer 2015.
Michael Eakin, chief executive of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, said: "There is still much work to be done before the full completion of the refurbishment programme in summer 2015 and although some facilities will not be complete when we reopen, we have been keen to welcome audiences back to the Hall for concerts and events as soon as we could. The completion of the full complex in summer 2015 will be one of the highlights of Liverpool Philharmonic's 175th anniversary year. In the meantime, until all our new facilities are operational, we will be doing all we can to ensure everyone's comfort and enjoyment when visiting Liverpool Philharmonic Hall."
This evening and tomorrow, chief conductor, Vasily Petrenko, will return to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to perform the world premiere of a new work by American composer James Horner. Pas de Deux for violin, cello and orchestra has been especially written for and will be performed by the Norwegian brother-and-sister team of violinist Mari and cellist Håkon Samuelsen.
Funding for the revamp was provided through a major award from Arts Council England, significant capital contribution from Liverpool City Council, with further awards from trusts and foundations, and gifts from individual donors
There has been a Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on the same site on Hope Street since 1849. The original hall, designed by architect John Cunningham, opened on 27 August 1849 and was destroyed by fire on 5 July 1933. The current hall opened on 20 June 1939 and was designed by architect Herbert J Rowse, whose other buildings in Liverpool include Martin's Bank, India Buildings and the Queensway Tunnel entrances, toll booths and ventilation building exteriors.
The project team for the refurbishment includes Max Fordham, mechanical and electrical engineers, Price & Myers, structural engineer, Threshold Acoustics and David Bonnett Associates, access consultant to develop the initial design phase.
Last month, on the same street, the new Everyman theatre designed by Haworth Tompkins won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014.
Images by Mark McNulty