A venue fit for Kings and commoners

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The Independent Culture

Kicking off with 20 events on its first day alone, Kings Place is hammering home the point that it's London's first purpose-built concert complex in 25 years. To walk in off the street is to swap industrial grunge for the most exquisite modernity. The main auditorium is like the inside of a sailing ship: honey-coloured timbers, a raised gallery running right round, and a very high ceiling. Sitting at the back – and unlike the seats in most other halls, these really are for sitting in – I listen to a whispered conversation between composer Simon Holt and oboist Melinda Maxwell, who will play his new piece as the first work to be heard in the hall next Wednesday. The acoustic here's superb, and will rival the Wigmore Hall.

"I'm playing an instrument made in the 21st century," says Maxwell, "but this piece harks back to an ancient world. It brings out the inner nature of the instrument, which I feel I'm trying to tame."



1 October (0844 264 0321; www.kingsplace.co.uk)

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