Nile Rodgers, Patti Smith and Jon Hopkins announced for Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary shows

Dozens of events and initiatives will run from 2021-2022 in celebration

Nile Rodgers, Patti Smith and Jon Hopkins are some of the big names announced for the Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary programme starting next year.

The historic London venue today (December 3) announced its plans to mark the milestone with a host of concerts, events and initiatives. Celebrations will kick off on March 29, 2021 – exactly 150 years on from its opening – and will run into 2022.

Other performances will come from Brian Wilson, Gregory Porter, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Alfie Boe. Patti Smith and Jon Hopkins will put on headline shows, while Nile Rodgers will compose a pop anthem for the anniversary using a full orchestra and singers from across the community.

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Films in Concert event at the Royal Albert Hall. CREDIT: Press

The hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and was named in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, whose founding vision was for a venue that would both democratise and promote the arts and sciences.

Elsewhere on the programme, Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Up, Rogue One), will write a new piece for the hall’s famous Henry Willis Organ, premiered at a special concert celebrating the organ, which was the biggest instrument in the world when it was played at the opening ceremony in 1871.

The Grand Organ at the Royal Albert Hall. CREDIT: Press

The instrument has been played by many classical and rock legends including Pink Floyd‘s Richard Wright, and features on Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention’s 1969 release Uncle Meat.

A special orchestral commission celebrating the anniversary is to be performed as part of the BBC Proms season alongside other programming related to the history of the Royal Albert Hall.

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Also on the programme is WOW (Women of the World Festival) which is to be held in the hall on March 8, 2020. Additionally, This Is The Kit will perform in the ongoing Albert Sessions series and run a workshop for local teenagers. KT Tunstall will lead a new mentorship programme for young female artists.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will also host celebratory concerts to mark both the venue’s 150th anniversary and its 7v5th anniversary. You can see the full programme of events here.

Patti Smith
Patti Smith. Credit: Alamy

The venue’s chief executive Craig Hassall announced the plans while also revealing the completed four-year restoration of the hall’s historic façade.

Hassall said of the news: “Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic, which has closed our treasured building to the public for the first time since the Second World War, we are determined to host a full celebration of our 150th anniversary.

“Since its opening, this extraordinary venue has borne witness to, and played a central part in, seismic cultural and social change. The interests, manners and social mores of the people may have changed, but this beautiful building and what it represents remains the same a century-and-a-half later: a meeting place, a reflection of contemporary Britain, and a home for exhilarating live performance and events of international significance.

“I want to thank the whole creative industry, our dedicated staff and all of the artists involved for their support in announcing this programme today.”

A Celebration in 150 Unforgettable Moments, a new anniversary book that includes a foreword from Her Majesty The Queen, is published this month by Ebury. The Royal Mint will also issue a £5 coin to mark the landmark birthday.

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