Classical Music Venues in Manchester

As a city, Manchester has an enormous range of music venues specialising in different genres of music. In this post, we discuss the top places to visit for classical music in Manchester. There is a thriving classical music scene in Manchester, which is home to no less than three professional orchestras; the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and the Hallé as well as countless other professional music groups and ensembles. Even though live classical music concerts have come to an abrupt halt due to the ongoing pandemic, with a glimmer of hope on the horizon, we look forward to the reopening of concert halls around the country.

Bridgewater Hall Evening

“Bridgewater Hall in the evening, Manchester, United Kingdom.” Photograph by Mike Peel ( licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Bridgewater Hall

With an audience capacity of 2355, the hall is one of Manchester’s largest venues, especially for classical music, it’s first concert being held on 11th September 1996.  Built between 1993-96, it replaced the concert venue within the Free Trade Hall.

Bridgewater Hall hosts a variety of concerts, including series by the Hallé and BBC Phil, as well as hosting its own International Concert Series. The halls acoustics are ideal for larger ensembles/orchestras and due to the entire hall resting on 280 giant earthquake proof springs, the hall is protected from the external tram and city noise. The hall, therefore, attracts world-class performers to its stage throughout the year making it one of the go to venues, not just in Manchester but in the entire country. For those of you who have some extra time in the day before a concert, the hall tour is highly recommended, where participants can visit places not seen by the general public, including the halls undercroft!

The fantastic array of concerts that the hall hosts make it a must visit if you live close by or are even just in the city for a day! Currently, they are streaming an online series of concerts by the Hallé Orchestra; Hallé Winter Season 2020. Visit the Hallé Orchestra website below for more details.

Inside Bridgewater Hall

Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England, January 2017” Photograph by Ardfern. Licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Stoller Hall

A beautifully crafted venue with one of the clearest, most special acoustics! A much smaller and more intimate venue than Bridgewater Hall, the Stoller Hall has a seating capacity of around 482. Built within the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music, the hall is situated in the heart of Manchester and plays a large part in the musical education of the next generation of classical musicians as well as the culture of the city. Hosting a variety of concerts throughout the year, the hall is diverse not only in what it can offer its audience but also its performers. It would seem that the stage size is ideally suited to a chamber music group or perhaps a medium sized ensemble. However, with the ability to lower the first four rows of seating beneath the stalls and raise an additional section of stage to take their place, the stage can be extended to accommodate an entire symphony orchestra. (To see this process in action, visit ‘Creating a concert hall’ page on the stoller hall website, linked below.)

Inside of the Stoller Hall, Manchester

Stoller Hall (5)” Photograph © Anthony O’Neil. Licensed under cc-by-sa/2.0

Just as with the Bridgewater Hall, to avoid the noise of the bustling city outside its walls the Stoller Hall has been constructed within a larger shell, a box within a box! The extraordinary acoustics make it the ideal venue for professional recordings, attracting world renowned musicians to perform within its walls. As for now the Hall is hosting a series of live broadcasts. To find out more, visit the website below!

RNCM – Royal Northern College of Music

As well as being one of the finest institutions in the UK for students of music, the RNCM plays an important role in the music culture of Manchester. As a public arts venue, the college ordinarily hosts hundreds of concerts throughout the year, from first-rate student concert series to professional evening recitals and recordings. As well as a beautifully redeveloped concert hall with a seating capacity of 744, the college also contains a 672-seat opera theatre as well as a host of other large modern studio spaces.

“Royal Northern College of Music, Oxford Road, Manchester” Photograph © Stephen Richards. Licensed under cc-by-sa/2.0.

There is an incredible amount to see at the college throughout the year, from classical music to some of the UK’s top comedians and TV personalities. For those of you looking for the former, there couldn’t be a broader choice; from baroque concerts all the way through to brand-new contemporary music and operas, the college has it all. As well as many public competitions held throughout the year for students of the college, the RNCM also hosts the RNCM James Mottram International Piano Competition, attracting pianists from throughout the world to compete for the grand prizes. If however, it is jazz or pop that you’re after, the pop department of the college fuels a thriving series of concerts usually held in the college’s opera theatre. 


The college is currently hosting online fundraising concerts by students and well-known musicians in order to raise money for the college and to ‘keep music playing’ throughout these difficult times for the arts. For more info on concerts and to donate, visit:

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