The concert hall was built when Glasgow was designated as European Capital of Culture for 1990. Designed by Sir Leslie Martin, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall was officially opened on 5 October 1990 by Princess Anne.
It was also the venue for a famous speech by Gordon Brown about the benefits of being in the EU:
Being European Capital of Culture really gave the Glasgow arts scene and the wider Glasgow economy a real boost. To see which cities have held this title and which ones are coming up in the next few years… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Capital_of_Culture
European Capital of Culture project: https://ec.europa.eu/culture/policies/culture-cities-and-regions/european-capitals-culture
Glasgow has a thriving musical and artistic scene. In fact, the European Commission commented in 2019: “As the UK’s top cultural and creative city, Glasgow is home to world-class museums, galleries, family-friendly attractions and an edgy contemporary art scene that shows the city at its energetic finest.”
“Glasgow crowned UK’s top cultural and creative city”,
Sunday Post, 2019: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/396198/
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra which is now based at the Concert Hall has had numerous international players and conductors. Amongst the Principal Conductors from the European Continent are:
German George Henschel (1893–1895), Dutch Willem Kes (1895–1898), Polish Emil Młynarski (1910–1916), Czech Václav Talich (1926–1927), French-American Vladimir Golschmann (1928–1930), Hungarian born American George Szell (1937–1939), Czech born British conductor Walter Susskind (1946–1952), Austrian born British conductor Karl Rankl (1952–1957), Hungarian born Austrian Hans Swarowsky (1957–1959), Estonian American Neeme Järvi (1984–1988), Austrian born Walter Weller (1992–1997), Russian Alexander Lazarev (1997–2005), French Stéphane Denève (2005–2012) and Danish Thomas Søndergård (2018–present).
On one occasion Sir Alexander Gibson’s conduced the RSNO Polish premiere of Panufnik’s Sinfonia Sacra at the 1978 Warsaw Autumn Festival.
A fabulous Timeline of the RSNO can be seen here – it is hard not to notice its European links & links with some top composers and musicians – History – Royal Scottish National Orchestra (rsno.org.uk)
For the full list of conductors and more information about all those involved with the orchestra:
Scottish Symphony Orchestra (normally based at the City Halls) has had numerous players and conductors from the European continent. Amongst the principal conductors there is from Switzerland Karl Anton Rickenbacher (1978–1980), from Poland Jerzy Maksymiuk (1983–1993), from Finland Osmo Vänskä (1996–2002) and Danish Thomas Dausgaard (2016–present)
The above two orchestras also took part in the UK premiere of Gruppen (German: Groups) for three orchestras, which is amongst the best-known compositions of German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Gruppen is said to be “a landmark in 20th-century music.
Further European connections can be seen at Scottish Opera, which tends to play at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow. The opera has toured in Europe, in particular taking the Opera Albert Herring to Florence, Egisto to in Venice, as well as tours in Germany, Austria, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Yugoslavia and Iceland and recently it took Peter Grimes and Tristan und Isolde to Lisbon and Macbeth to the Vienna International Festival and performed the European premiere of MacMillan’s Ines de Castro in Porto, Portugal.
As well as classical events, the Concert Hall is a main venue for the now extensive and popular annual Celtic Connection festival. Numerous other theatre and pantomime and singing events take place in Glasgow and surrounding areas …