London’s first community concert hall in more than a decade has opened at Embassy Gardens, as charity World Heart Beat launches a new, accessible venue for local people.
A new cultural anchor for Nine Elms, the facility will enable World Heart Beat to build on its existing track record of providing accessible music education. The space will be open to all, and features a state-of-the-art recording studio, teaching spaces, an outside broadcast studio, and a café/bar. At its heart is an auditorium – the first in the UK to be equipped with the revolutionary 360-degree d&b immersive Soundscape EnScene system which ensures each audience member experiences the same exceptional quality of sound, regardless of their position in the hall.
The facility was formally opened with a series of launch events attended by Baroness Floella Benjamin, eminent jazz artist Julian Joseph OBE, the Mayor of Wandsworth, and Cllr Kemi Akinola – Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for Culture who said: "I was delighted to be at the opening of this fantastic venue for World Heart Beat with state-of-the-art facilities that will help so many of our young people to fulfil their potential, regardless of their circumstances.
“This music centre also gives our communities the chance to participate in the cultural life of the borough and builds a strong future for creative industries choosing to make Wandsworth their home.”
World Heart Beat was first established in London in 2008, with a mission to make music accessible, transforming lives through lessons, workshops and events. Speaking of the new venue the charity’s founder Sahana Gero MBE added: "We are honoured to be opening up World Heart Beat Embassy Gardens to add to the vibrancy and excitement around the new Nine Elms area. It is such a privilege to be able to contribute to the community with a state-of-the-art boutique concert hall and a music education facility.
“Music brings everyone together, it brings joy by linking communities and breaking down political, economic and cultural barriers. We would like to think of World Heart Beat Embassy Gardens as an inspiring place to be, a citadel for musical aspirations and achievement. A welcoming home for all."
In her quest to get people through the doors of the venue, a programme of events has already been announced; renowned artists are scheduled to perform from January – including Julian Joseph, as well as jazz trumpeter Byron Wallen, Cuban-born violinist Omar Puente, saxophonist and flautist Tony Kofi, Indian classical musician Kamal Sabri, Russian-born British concert pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, winner of the BBC Young Musician brass category in 2016 Ben Goldscheider, and piano trio Amatis Trio.
World Heart Beat will also host regular classes and areas for local young people to learn; the space has been designed by Rory Aitkenhead ARB, director of ra-l architects, with cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities that will enable the charity to introduce young people to a huge breadth of music industry skills whilst also providing an unparalleled experience for artists and audiences.
World Heart Beat’s mission is to provide opportunities for all, and welcomes any young person interested in learning music. This commitment sees them providing bursaries and free instruments to more than half of the students that come through their door; this will directly benefit thousands of young people, particularly welcoming young those living in challenging circumstances, and on the neighbouring communities on the Patmore, Savona, Carey Gardens, Doddington and Rollo Estates. To find out more, and to book tickets for the first confirmed shows, click here.