The building’s dramatic, shell-like form encloses three main performance spaces. The largest, seating 1,650 people, has state-of the-art acoustics. The second hall seats 400 people and is highly flexible, catering to folk music, jazz and chamber music. The third space is a large rehearsal hall and will be the focus for the new Regional Music School. It raises the profile of the region as an innovative provider of music education. The project has taken ten years of planning and has already received worldwide attention. Geographically, the new centre fills a gap on the map for musical venues, the nearest alternatives being more than three hours away. Foster and Partners were appointed after an international selection process. The centre has been designed after much consultation with users, audiences, artists and musicians. The project has become a true landmark.