Sean Ono Lennon officially opened the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre – home of the University of Liverpool’s new world class concert hall, The Tung Auditorium – on Friday, 24 March, ahead of an evening Gala Concert held in honour of his mother, Yoko Ono Lennon.
The opening of the new state-of the-art cultural landmark, on the corner of Grove Street and Oxford Street, was celebrated with the world premiere performance of composer and Liverpool alumna, Professor Shirley J. Thompson OBE’s One World – a re-imagining and homage to John Lennon’s iconic song, Imagine.
The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre is named in honour of Yoko Ono Lennon, Honorary graduate of the University (Hon LLD 2001), campaign ambassador and long-standing philanthropic supporter.
Yoko Ono Lennon said: “I am thrilled to be recognised with the naming of the new performance centre at the University of Liverpool. Thank you to the University and to the people of Liverpool for this wonderful honour.
“Liverpool has become part of me from years of going there, and with this new centre part of me will always be there – for that I’m very thankful. I think John is smiling about it too. I’m also very thankful that our son, Sean is there in Liverpool for the celebrations around the opening.”
Sean Ono Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon, said: “They used to say behind every great man was a great woman. But my parents famously stood beside each other as equals.
“It is a beautiful statement that the University of Liverpool would recognize my mother in this way. “In a city synonymous with my father’s achievements it is especially meaningful to acknowledge Yoko Ono for the remarkable human being that she is.
“I’m just really chuffed to be here.”
As well as providing the latest teaching facilities, including the 600-seat Paul Brett Lecture Theatre, the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre is home to The Tung Auditorium, a 400-seat acoustically optimised, flexible, music performance space, designed for solo, chamber, choral and orchestral performances, with adjustable acoustics to accommodate a wide variety of jazz, folk, pop, electro-acoustic and experimental music.
Richard Hartwell, The Tung Auditorium Artistic Director, said: “Due to its cutting edge design, The Tung Auditorium is possibly the finest concert hall in the world.
“The excellent acoustics will bring out the very best creativity in anyone who uses it, from students, tutors, youth groups, and amateur ensembles, to internationally acclaimed visiting artists.”
“As well as offering a busy programme of public performance, our students will benefit from involvement in all aspects of The Tung Auditorium’s operation, from front of house to sound technician roles, delivering so much valuable experience as they look towards their careers.”
Major benefactors and alumni, CH and CC Tung said: “We always look back fondly on our time as students at the University and are proud that The Tung Auditorium will support the ambitions and aspirations of the next generation of students.
“We are delighted to be involved in the creation of a new cultural, artistic and educational establishment, one that further celebrates the long-standing relationship between the Tung family and the University.”
The Gala Concert will open with Professor Shirley J. Thompson OBE’s One World, to be followed by the premiere of Benjamin Hackbarth’s Acoustic Sweep. It will include performances from The Solem Quartet; Xiaoxiao Hou; Liam Carey; and the University’s Chamber Choir; before the Liverpool Philharmonic’s contemporary music group, Ensemble 10/10 perform Matthew Fairclough’s Radically Impure.
As well as the performance space and teaching facilities, the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre will house an iteration of Yoko Ono Lennon’s famous Wish Tree installation in the Peace Atrium, and the Fröhlich Café Bar will be open to the public.
Dame Professor Janet Beer, University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are extremely grateful to the alumni, donors and friends who have supported the University’s fundraising campaign to bring this new cultural landmark to the city.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming people to the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre and The Tung Auditorium.”
The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre is hosting a free Open House session between 2-5pm on Sunday March 27. To find out more, and book your tickets, please visit https://thetungauditorium.com/events/yoko-ono-lennon-centre-open-house#book-tickets