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 We caught up with Simon Glinn, Executive Director of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall & Events.


How did it feel to win Live Music Venue Of The Year Award? 

We were delighted! Liverpool Philharmonic is the only organisation that runs both a symphony orchestra and a concert hall, and our orchestra is one of the finest in the world and wins a lot of plaudits, so it’s always nice when the venue gets recognition for its broader programme in its own right!


What were your highlights of 2013?

Gigs by Richard Hawley and Richard Thompson, the residency by Bryn Terfel, Paloma Faith’s Symphonic Grace project and the fourth Irish Sea Sessions all really stood out.


What are your plans for 2014? 

It’s complicated; we’re embarking on a £12m plus refurbishment so it’s an unusual year. I’ve just produced The Music of Ian Broudie featuring Ian, the Lightning Seeds, and special guests including Miles Kane, Ian McCulloch, James Skelly and Terry Hall, which was a great night, very warmly received and due out on DVD later in the year. Christian Linberg has recently been artist in residence with the orchestra, and we’ve just had 15,000 school children attend a week of concerts with the orchestra too. We have just had the last ever concert in the Rodewald Suite, our smaller venue, with Ian Prowse, Rob Vincent, Lizzie Nunnery, Neil Campbell and many more – that space is being fully demolished and will be replaced by a new ground-floor, much improved venue opening around April or May next year. We close the main concert hall after 23rd May whilst work goes on to improve accessibility, the front of house set up and the stage technology, reopening in November with a gig by Bellowhead. In the meantime we’re presenting a lot of events at St George’s Hall Concert Room, a venue we use regularly anyway, but with more gigs whilst the main concert hall is closed, including the return of Toumani Diabate, and a great project featuring harpist Catrin Finch with the kora-player Seckou Keita.


If you could have any musician in the world to play at your venue, who would it be, and why?

Ooooh, tough one, as we get to host many great international musicians across our classical and non-classical programme, many of the world’s greats come here at some time or another anyway. I had always hoped to bring Paco de Lucia to Hope Street, so was hugely saddened by his recent death. If there’s an artist I would love to see here, but think it’s unlikely I could ever find a way of making economic sense of it, it would probably be the American mandolin player David Grisman – with a band including Tony Rice and Eberhard Weber!


Are there any Liverpool bands/Artists that have caught your eye recently?

There are lots, it’s great that Emily Portman has moved to Liverpool and is settling in here: she’s now one of the presenters of Radio Merseyside’s Folk Scene; her near neighbour is John Smith, who is superb and making his mark nationally, and has recently moved back to the city. John was once a member of bar staff at the concert hall when he was studying at LIPA, and it was great to see him on the stage with the Bright Phoebus project last year. Another staff member is Ben Duvall, who heads up the brilliant Ex-Easter Island Head ensemble. Dominic Dunn played some great gigs in last year’s Liverpool Irish Festival and the Rodewald Suite. I’ve also been impressed with Hannah Kewn, and a young lass called Millie Courtney, whom I first met a couple of years ago at a friend’s new year party in darkest Cheshire. She is a performer with a maturity way, way beyond her years and is now getting known in the city.


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