Building at heart of the city since 1822
Since 1822, the Aberdeen Music Hall has been the heart of concert and community life in the north-east.
Originally the city’s Assembly Rooms, it cost £11,500 to build following a national competition that invited architects to submit ideas for what would become a major landmark.
The eventual winner was Aberdeen’s most famous architect, Archibald Simpson, but he entered under an assumed name despite already being a prominent figure.
It was originally built with two main performance spaces – a main auditorium and a large ballroom – and enjoyed immediate success as the building opened to packed-out performances, including readings from Charles Dickens.
In 1858, the rooms were sold by the trustees to the newly formed Aberdeen Music Hall Company, which swiftly announced plans to extend the building to accommodate a grand music hall.
The company plunged into liquidation in 1928, prompting Aberdeen City Council to buy it for the people.
The music hall was extensively restored and refurbished by the City of Aberdeen District Council in the mid 1980s.
Almost all of the Freedom of the City ceremonies have taken place at the Music Hall, with the Queen, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Winston Churchill and Alex Ferguson all receiving the honour there.