British conductor Simon Rattle on Tuesday called for a new concert hall in London to make the city more competitive on the international music scene, as he takes up his baton at the London Symphony Orchestra.
He threw his weight behind a £280 million (324 million euro, $347 million) project aimed at creating a “Centre for Music” equipped for the digital era.
The plans involve building a new hall on the site of the Museum of London, which is relocating nearby, which would become the new home of the LSO.
Rattle, 61, will head the LSO from September while also conducting his final season at the Berlin Philharmonic until 2018.
He said the Barbican Centre concert hall where the LSO is currently based only allowed him to put on 80 percent of the works he would like to play.
“Obviously the stage was beautifully designed for a certain size of orchestra but not for a very large orchestra and certainly it was made without a chorus in mind,” he told reporters at a briefing.
“Sometimes you need some space for sound to expand and develop,” he said.
The project has suffered a series of setbacks in recent months, including the withdrawal of government funding.
The City of London Corporation, which governs the financial heart of the city, has since said it will make up the shortfall.
But Rattle admitted there was still “an enormous amount of fundraising to do”.
The conductor said his opening season would draw on the “goldmine” of British composers.
Asked about his double role in Berlin and London, he said: “I’m doing the insane thing I said I’d never do, which is run two orchestras at the same time.”