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City concert hall report finished but kept under wraps

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A $176,000 report into whether a new acoustic concert hall should be built for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was delivered three months ago – but the State Government says it won’t consider the “appropriateness” of its release before next June.

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The government-commissioned scoping study was completed in August over a year after it was first flagged.

In a recent post on its website, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet wrote that the study found that an acoustic concert hall in Adelaide could “act as a centre point for community vibrancy and inclusion”, boost the state’s creative industries sector and “drive skills development for future industries”.

But it did not provide specifics about the study’s findings, instead saying the scoping study was “the initial component” in the planning process.

A spokesperson for the Department told InDaily that the Government would “consider the appropriateness” of releasing the report after it finishes a second “options analysis” study, expected by June 2022 and well after the March state election.

That is despite the Department telling InDaily in August that “once finalised following industry consultation, it is envisaged the (scoping study) report will be made available more broadly”.

“The scoping study for a new facility for acoustic music performance and education is the first step of the in-depth analysis needed to support any decisions around possible options for the facility,” the spokesperson said this week.

“The next step is the development of an ‘options analysis’ that includes more detailed financial, social and economic information.

“It is expected the options analysis will be complete by June 2022, after which, Government will consider the appropriateness of releasing the reports.”

The Government has so far spent $176,000 on researching whether it should build a concert hall.

The scoping study, completed by local architecture firm Baukultur, analysed multi-million-dollar music venues across Australia, Asia, the United States and United Kingdom as case studies for building a new venue in Adelaide to house the Adelaide Symphony and Youth Orchestras.

Venues considered in the study included Melbourne’s Recital Centre and Ian Potter Southbank Centre, The Sage music centre in Gateshead in the United Kingdom, EMPAC and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Singapore’s Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, and the Tongyeong International Music Hall in South Korea.

Melbourne’s Recital Centre has been considered in a SA concert hall scoping study. Photo: Codex, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sage in Gateshead. Photo: Neil Turner from Sowerby Bridge, United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

According to government tender documents released last year, building a concert hall in Adelaide could boost music careers, attract more international students, and serve as a hub for music research in the state.

The documents stated the proposed new venue could be managed by a governance board “with significant State Government involvement” similar to the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority or the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust.

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra managing director Vince Ciccarello has long called for the State Government to invest in a concert hall, telling InDaily previously that the orchestra’s most regular performance venue, the Adelaide Town Hall, placed the ASO at a disadvantage as it had inadequate capacity and facilities.

The State Government has already budgeted for a concert hall business case as part of a $27 million funding pool announced in June.

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