Artistic Director appointed for new auditorium in Yoko Ono Lennon Centre

The University of Liverpool is delighted to announce the appointment of Richard Hartwell as Artistic Director to the Tung Auditorium in the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, the new £22.1m teaching and performance facility which is due to open in late 2021.

Richard Hartwell, who joins the University from Buxton Opera House, will work with local partners and stakeholders to develop a public programme of cultural highlights, including concerts and lectures, and establish the Tung Auditorium as a go-to destination for performers and audiences alike.

He said: “I’m delighted to be joining the University as Artistic Director for the new Tung Auditorium.

“As an UNESCO City of Music, Liverpool already enjoys a rich musical heritage. In addition to bringing the University’s popular Lunchtime Concert Series and other University events to the venue, I’m looking forward to developing an exciting new programme that will appeal to existing audiences, as well as new.”

The Tung Auditorium, located at the heart of the new building, is a 400-seat state-of-the-art performance space with room for a 70-piece orchestra, and will provide the city with a high-quality, medium-sized venue suited to a wide range of musical genres.

Having previously worked at the Royal Northern College of Music, and more recently directing the launch of The Stoller Hall at Chetham’s School of Music, Richard brings the expertise required to guide the Centre from opening through to its establishment within Liverpool’s cultural milieu.

Professor Catherine Tackley, Head of Music at the University of Liverpool, said: “Richard’s appointment is good news for the Centre and for the city.

“He brings a wealth of experience to the role and will oversee the development of the diverse and rich cultural events we have planned for the Tung Auditorium.”

Robin Bloxsidge and Nick Riddle, Campaign Ambassadors for the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, said: “We welcome this appointment enthusiastically in the light of the excellent work Richard has done in major venues like Kings Place and the Barbican.

“We are filled with anticipation and confidence that he will bring his considerable ability and experience to develop the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre into a leading arts venue to complement and further enliven the existing vibrant arts and music scene in the Liverpool City Region.”

As well as the Tung Auditorium, the Centre will house the Paul Brett Lecture Theatre, the largest purpose-built lecture space on the University’s campus.

The Centre is named in honour of Yoko Ono Lennon, honorary University of Liverpool graduate, campaign ambassador, cultural icon and long-standing philanthropic supporter to the University.

The announcement follows an extensive recruitment process by the School of the Arts. Richard will take up his position in January 2021.