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BBC host first live performance at new music studios in East London

Hak Baker and Helen Vollam celebrate the topping out of the BBC’s new music studios at East Bank, in the first live performance (Mark Allan/BBC/PA)
Hak Baker and Helen Vollam celebrate the topping out of the BBC’s new music studios at East Bank, in the first live performance (Mark Allan/BBC/PA)

The BBC have celebrated the topping out ceremony of its new music studios with a live music performance at the site from singer songwriter Hak Baker and Principal Trombone at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Helen Vollam.

The new BBC music studios are due to open in 2025 and are located at East Bank, the new cultural and education district at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

As a part of the ceremony, which marks completion of the concrete structure, East London-born and BBC Introducing singer Baker and trombonist Vollam performed a collaborative composition of Baker’s latest single, Bricks in the Wall.

Hak Baker and Helen Vollam celebrate the topping out of the BBC’s new music studios at East Bank, with the first live performance (Mark Allan/BBC/PA)

The performance saw a fusion of rap, pop and classical, echoing the ambition of the new music studios, which will be a home for the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, rock and pop sessions, BBC music education and outreach, as well as a library housing an extensive sheet music collection.

The studios will also house music sessions from the Radio 1 Live Lounge through to BBC Proms rehearsals, Radio 3 concerts, and special performances from the BBC Pop music stations, with the public invited to attend and experience many of them live.

Alongside Baker and Vollam, guests at the ceremony included the Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Lyn Garner, as well as the BBC’s Alan Davey, controller of Radio 3 and BBC Proms and Ahmed Hussain, head of BBC Asian Network.

Speaking about the topping out ceremony and the development of the new studios, Davey said: “We are thrilled to celebrate the next chapter in the BBC’s history with the topping out ceremony of the BBC Music Studios.

“Making amazing, world-class music for all our audiences is our mission across all genres and to mark this occasion with the first live performance at the studios during our centenary year feels very special indeed.

“Hak Baker and Helen Vollam’s musical collaboration is emblematic of the diversity integral to our musical offer, and the new studios will be a brilliant opportunity for artists, the public and the local community to collaborate together and build a new musical legacy at the heart of East Bank.”

Helen Vollam, Rokhsana Fiaz, Lyn Garner, Hak Baker, Ahmed Hussain, Alan Davey and Justine Simons celebrate the topping out of the BBC’s new music studios (Mark Allan/BBC/PA)

As part of the BBC’s move to East Bank, the corporation have sought to involve the local community through music education and outreach events, as well as participation in apprenticeships, designed to support local East London talent get into the music industry.

Moving the BBC Music Studios from Maida Vale to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford is also part of a wider partnership with the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, University College London and University of the Arts London’s London College of Fashion to create a new creative quarter in the capital, East Bank, which is backed by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Mr Khan said: “Over the last decade we have seen the area in and around East Bank grow as a hub for creativity and innovation, becoming an exciting destination not just for Londoners but for people across the country and the world.

“We are proud to support the new BBC Music Studios, as well as the wider East Bank partners, who continue to work with local cultural partners and community groups to inspire the next generation of talented young musicians.”