Usher Hall presents 100th birthday concert

For one night only Edinburgh's Usher Hall will celebrate 100 years of music and entertainment by presenting a selection of music from the three original opening concerts which took place a century ago

The programme for 'A Centenary Celebration' on Thursday 6 March 2014 features the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and the magnificent Usher Hall organ that has played a big part in the Hall’s heritage since it was installed in 1913.

Directing this special concert will be two eminent conductors, who know the Usher Hall very well, RSNO Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Søndergård, and conductor Michael Bawtree. The programme features some much-loved classics from the time that are still very much part of today’s popular repertoire; music from Wagner, Rachmaninov, Mendelssohn, MacCunn, Bach, Parry and Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony. Edinburgh’s popular City Organist, John Kitchen, will also perform.

Originally built with a separate entrance for the rich and with the Temperance movement ensuring no alcohol was served, there was no hint at that time of the social turmoil that was to take place over the coming century. Despite many new styles of music evolving during that time, the music of the original concert maintains its appeal and will be seen to have transcended the years.

Over the course of the last hundred years the Usher Hall has played host to performers, musicians and conductors a wide variety of music by great artists, and they have also observed a centenary of enormous social change.

Some of the world’s greatest artists have graced the Usher Hall’s stage: Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Oscar Peterson, The Rolling Stones, Adele and Michael Bublé to name a few.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener of Culture & Sport, said: “The Usher Hall’s centenary year begins with a wonderful concert of memories. The venue was a marvellous gift from Andrew Usher for the people of Edinburgh and for 100 years it has been a great source of enjoyment and many thousands have entered its doors. Join us, on what promises to be, a memorable and uplifting occasion.”

RSNO Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Søndergård said: “Since coming to Scotland my experiences of the Usher Hall have been full of excitement, joy and thrilling music-making. It is a wonderful venue with a venerable history and I am honoured to play a part in its centenary celebrations. Both myself and the musicians of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra wish our Edinburgh home another successful 100 years!”

The concert takes place on Thursday 6 March at 7.30pm and tickets are available from Friday, 10am, at or 0131 228 1155.

Further information: 

  • Tickets cost £32 / £26 / £21 / £16 / £12 and an Early Bird Offer is available for a limited period only.
  • Forthcoming concerts at the Hall include; Madeleine Peyroux, Eddi Reader, Texas, The Sixteen, James Arthur, Tom Odell, Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Gareth Malone : The Live Tour

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