St Cecilia’s Hall is home to the University of Edinburgh’s collection of historic musical instruments, which ranks among the world’s most important collections of musical heritage.
Built in 1763, this is the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland, and the second oldest (after Oxford’s Holywell Room) in the British Isles. The University of Edinburgh bought the building in 1959 to accommodate its expanding music faculty and to display the Raymond Russell Collection of Early Keyboards Instruments.
After several extensions and refurbishments (the most recent completed in 2017), the complex now consists of a modern entrance, visible conservation studio, four museum galleries, an education room and the 18th-century concert room.
The collection's focus is on instruments that are no longer in regular current use and it covers the period from the 16th to the 20th century. Many of the instruments are still playable and the hall runs an established concert programme. It is the only place in the world where it is possible to hear 18th-century music in an 18th-century concert hall played on 18th-century instruments.