Rarely-seen treasures from the history of the Hallé form part of an exhibition marking 150 years of Britain’s oldest professional symphony orchestra.
The exhibition, in the Central Library in Manchester until 1 March, includes founding conductor Sir Charles Hallé's baton, his music lesson appointment books - he taught piano to Princess Alexandra, among others - and the programme for the first ever Hallé concert in Hallé 's handwriting.
There are also letters from Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Elgar, pictures from the Hallé's collections, letters, photographs and scores.
The exhibition includes material from the Henry Watson Music Library in the Central Library, the Hallé's own archive and the Royal Northern College of Music's archive.
Councillor Mike Kane, Executive Member for Arts and Leisure and a member of the Hallé board, said: "This fascinating exhibition tells the story of a very Mancunian orchestra and its founder. Mancunians take great pride in their orchestra and this will provide a rare chance for everyone interested in this city institution to see lots of material that has not been on public display before."
John Summers, Chief Executive of the Hallé, said: "We are exceptionally proud that the Hallé's 150 th anniversary is being celebrated in this magnificent exhibition. We are most grateful to Manchester City Council for supporting this venture."
The exhibition explores the early days of Sir Charles Hallé's life in Manchester, including the setting up of the world-famous orchestra and choir and looking at Manchester during the mid-19th century, exploring why it was so ready to be 'taken in hand' musically.
It also looks at other 'personalities' from the Hallé's 150-year history: conductors, players and other key figures including the original guarantors.
Sir Charles founded the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1893, which merged with the Northern School of Music in 1973 to form the Royal Northern College of Music.
Amongst the items on display will be a sculpture not often accessible to the public, by the Irish artist John Cassidy, who also produced the bust of Hallé that can be seen in The Bridgewater Hall.
In addition to the exhibition, the anniversary will be marked by a number of related talks in the Committee Room of the Central Library. The talks are all FREE and everyone is welcome.
Charles Hallé: A Musical Life
Tuesday 29 January, 1-2pm A talk by Robert Beale, historian and Manchester Evening News music correspondent, based on his newly-published book of the same name.
The Orchestra in the Community
Monday 18 February, 1-2pm A talk by Steve Pickett, the Hallé's Education Director. The award-winning education programme reaches over 35,000 participants a year, principally by placing Hallé musicians in the community, in schools, youth clubs, community centres and young offenders centres, where they compose and perform music alongside project participants.
Thursday 21 February, Eleanor Roberts, the Hallé archivist, gives a rare glimpse of how the history of the orchestra is preserved. She talks about the challenges presented by so many formats and her work in curating the Hallé 150 exhibition.
The Hallé in the Twentieth Century
Tuesday 26 February, 1-2pm A talk by Robert Beale (as above) based on his book, The Hallé: a Very British Orchestra in the 20th Century.
For more information about other talks and events in the library to celebrate the anniversary see the February issue of the library's listings magazine Full Volume, visit www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries or call Ros Edwards on 0161 234 1976.
Information about all Hallé concerts and related events at the Bridgewater Hall, including tickets, are available via the Hallé website at http://www.halle.co.uk/
Martin Hellewell, tel: 0161 234 3729