Lauded as one of Canada’s top acoustic venues, Aeolian Hall has featured some of Canada’s best folk acts in recent years, such as Jeremy Dutcher, Great Lake Swimmers, Jenn Grant, Matthew Barber, and Royal Wood. In addition to folk groups, Aeolian Hall has brought about performers from all genres, from big band to comedy to country. Other notable acts have included throat-singing powerhouse Tanya Tagaq, pop-rock singer/songwriter Sarah Slean and freak folk-rock group Timber Timbre.
The venue has been through a great deal since it was constructed as a town hall in 1883. When the municipality of East London went bankrupt and merged with the city of London, this former government building went through a number of radical transformations. Over the years, this building housed a fire station, a courthouse, a radio company, an elementary school, a public library and an appliance repair workshop — not to mention several undead tenants allegedly haunted the hall (as there are a number of catacombs under the building).
In 1948, London lawyer, organist and conductor Gordon Jeffery had just transformed a united church into a space for chamber music, only to find the building destroyed by arson shortly thereafter. Jeffery had named this space “Aeolian Hall,” after the musical mode, and his quest to establish a proper venue for classical music in London would not subside simply due to a devastating fire. Instead, Jeffery purchased another space: the vacant old town hall, which by this time was lying unused. It was in this historic space that Jeffery saw his vision though.
The home of the London Youth Symphony and the London Community Orchestra for years, Aeolian Hall became a registered non-profit organization in 2009. Since then, in addition to offering dozens of concerts and community events throughout the year, Aeolian Hall is home to the Aeolian School of Music and supports London’s El Sistema program, which provides no-cost, barrier-free classical music training for youth.