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Festival Concerts

We are looking forward to the last Festival before we close for redevelopment, and the fantastic series of concerts being organised by the Friends of St Cecilia’s Hall. We have five 3 o’clock concerts lined up:
John Kitchen plays the 1678 Garracino virginal (shown above) on 13 August
‘De La Guitarra’: Stephen Morrison and Gordon Ferries play guitar music by Carulli, Beethoven and others on 16 August
The woodwind and keyboard ensemble ‘Arborea Musica’ celebrate Italians in London using the 1764 Hass harpsichord in its 250th year on 20 August
Ksenia Semenova, winner of the 2013 Volkonsky International Harpsichord Competition, plays Bach, Handel and D Scarlatti on 23 August
The Gilbert Elliott Duo explore repertoire for flute and harpsichord from 18th-century Scotland on 27 August

You can also enjoy the Edinburgh Renaissance Band’s Viol Rackett Show.

For more information about the collection and the instruments featured, see

For tickets, visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website

Further funding success

Fundraising continues to go from strength to strength for the St Cecilia’s Hall Project. Following the recent successful Heritage Lottery Fund award in March, the Binks Trust have pledged a further gift in support of the Project.

As one of the projects first supporters, the Binks Trust have been instrumental in helping us to realise our vision for St Cecilia’s to become the centre for the display, study performance and enjoyment of historical musical instruments in the UK. The Trust’s continued support for the Project is a great example to other potential supporters and we hope that this further award will encourage additional funders to support the Project.

As well as the recent fundraising successes, the team at MIMEd are looking forward to a summer of festivities at St Cecilia’s over the coming months, prior to the doors closing for the restoration and refurbishment in September. There will also be a full programme during the Edinburgh Festival in August, with concerts on historical instruments as well as a variety of other events. Check out the programme here.

We will, of course, keep the Reid Concert Hall open during the period of closure at St Cecilia’s Hall, so be sure to watch out for the exciting programme of events we have planned while St Cecilia’s undergoes its transformation!


The transformation of Scotland’s oldest purpose built concert hall into a centre of excellence for the study, display and enjoyment of historic musical instruments has taken a major step forward with a significant funding award.

The St Cecilia’s Hall Redevelopment Project has been awarded £823,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The award is a key part of the University’s £6.5 million vision to restore, renovate and make accessible Scotland’s oldest concert hall and its world class collection of historic musical instruments.

The University is a leader in musical instrument research and St Cecilia’s Hall is home to one of the most important historic musical instrument collections anywhere in the world. St Cecilia’s Hall is a place where visitors can discover forgotten sounds and musical styles, learn about beautiful instruments and find out about the cultures of the people who created and played them.

The HLF award will fund new ways for audiences to enjoy and experience the instruments. There will be live demonstrations, innovative use of sound and recordings, song-writing projects, exhibitions about instruments and their owners, resources for schools, ‘brown bag’ concerts and much more.

The redeveloped Hall will combine over 1,000 world-class objects, research and teaching, sounds and stories; all set within the interiors of a refurbished and extended building. The plans, being developed by architects Page \ Park, will reinstate the 18th century character of the venue, restoring the original historic frontage and repairing the external stonework. A new entrance with a double-height feature door will be highly visible from the Royal Mile. The oval Concert Hall at the heart of the building will be completely restored and the original acoustic reinstated.

Jacky MacBeath, Head of Museums and Deputy Head of Centre for Research Collections, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled with this award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it’s a huge boost to the project which focusses on revealing St Cecilia’s Hall as one of the Old Town’s most important historic places, transforming access to this special building and its unique collections of international significance”.


New voices join the St Cecilia’s Hall fundraising canon!

A fundraising update by Leisa Thomas, Development Officer

Fundraising continues to go from strength to strength and we are delighted to announce three major grants from Scottish Trusts that have helped us reach the halfway mark in our fundraising endeavours. Arts philanthropists, the Dunard Fund, and Scottish stalwarts, the Wolfson Foundation, along with city locals, Edinburgh World Heritage, have each committed significant grants in support of St Cecilia’s Hall. The financial backing of these charitable bodies lends strength to the importance of our vision for Scotland’s oldest concert hall and what it means for our country’s musical heritage. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has supported the project and helped us attain this fantastic milestone!

Building for a New Audience

A post by Sarah Deters, Audience Development Assistant, MIMED

Why is the St Cecilia’s Hall Redevelopment project so important to Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh (MIMEd)?  There are a number of reasons. Through the redevelopment, we will be able to preserve and conserve St Cecilia’s Hall, the oldest concert hall in Scotland. By expanding the building, we will finally be able to bring together our musical instrument collections into one museum, displaying our objects in new galleries and allowing us to show the history of musical instruments under one roof. And with this improved St Cecilia’s, we can engage and embrace a new audience by expanding our opening hours, improving our facilities, providing exciting public programming, and interpreting our museum objects with a fresh perspective.

The opportunity to create an engaging space for our visitors is incredibly exciting for me as the Ap36 final external image2udience Development Assistant. Throughout the past year, I, along with the SCH Redevelopment Group and Jura Consultants, have been working hard on developing a robust Activity Plan.  This plan outlines all of the programmes, relationships, and engagement opportunities that will occur at St Cecilia’s Hall.  The plan has already been set in motion and will continue to gather speed throughout the redevelopment process.  It is a great time to be involved with Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh and I look forward to continuing to update everyone on the project.

Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund

In December, the St Cecilia’s Hall Redevelopment Project received first round funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.HLFHI_2747

John Scally, Director of Library & Collections, said:

“As Scotland’s oldest concert hall and home to one of the greatest collections of historical musical instruments, the St Cecilia’s Hall Redevelopment will restore and transform this unique building and make its internationally recognised collection available to the wider public from Scotland and beyond. We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to support the project and share in our vision to make available one of the city’s most unique hidden treasures.”

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

“The University of Edinburgh’s collection of musical instruments is regarded as one of the finest in the world. HLF applauds its aspiration to bring this unique collection under one roof so that many more people can study, perform and enjoy it.

“We are also delighted to give our initial support to the transformation of Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall. St Cecilia’s Hall will have new life breathed into it as people explore the music that Scots have made over the centuries, while its new modern gallery will ensure that the collection is kept safe for future generations.”