Naming of new performance centre after Yoko Ono ‘means a lot’, says son Sean

The Yoko Ono Lennon Centre is home to the University of Liverpool’s new 400-seat concert hall, The Tung Auditorium.

Yoko Ono (Jason Roberts/PA)

By Kim Pilling, PA

Sean Lennon has said it “means a lot” to his mother Yoko Ono that a new performance centre in Liverpool has been named in her honour.

The son of ex-Beatle John Lennon visited the city of his father’s birth to officially unveil the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, home to the University of Liverpool’s new 400-seat concert hall, the Tung Auditorium.

After he drew back the curtain to reveal the plaque, New York-based musician Sean, 46, quipped: “Do I get to keep this?”

Appearing on behalf of his mother, he said: “I’m very happy to be here. It’s a beautiful building and my mum sends her love to everyone here.”

Lennon later told the PA news agency: “My mum has a really great love for Liverpool. She has a really long relationship with Liverpool University so she is really happy about it.

“She loves this school, she loves this city and she really cares about continuing my father’s legacy in this town.

“I think for her it means a lot to be recognised this way. It’s very nice and it’s about time because often she has been overlooked.

“It’s really fun for me to be here. I have never visited the school so I got to see the recording studios and the rehearsal spaces, and I got to walk into my mum’s building centre and see all the thriving art and music that’s going on here.”

Sean Lennon (John Stillwell/PA)

The new centre will also provide the latest teaching facilities, including a 600-seat lecture theatre.

Since 1991 more than 650 students have benefited financially from the John Lennon Memorial Scholarship which was established by Ono in memory of her husband.

The long-standing philanthropic supporter of the university is also an honorary graduate.

During his visit, Lennon also met postgraduate students who are taking the first master’s degree in The Beatles and learning about the band’s influence on popular music and culture.

I think the phenomenon of The Beatles is very important and it's worthy of trying to investigate and understand

Sean Lennon

He said: “It was pretty amazing. We spoke about all things Beatles.

“I think it’s such a cool time that you can get a degree in Beatles. The world is evolving and I do think that it’s a worthy area of study because The Beatles are such an important part of modern culture, not just musically speaking but they are sort of part of the fabric of our modern society.

“I think the phenomenon of The Beatles is very important and it’s worthy of trying to investigate and understand.”

Following Friday’s ceremony, Lennon spoke to his father’s cousin Michael Cadwallader and his wife Linda.

Mr Cadwallader told PA: “I think the people of Liverpool have taken Yoko to their heart. She has supported so many things in the city and this is another example. It’s absolutely fabulous.

“We’ve not seen Sean personally since he was a toddler.

“We attended his concert here in Liverpool in 2006 but didn’t introduce ourselves because I think he was quite nervous, playing in his father’s city. But when the music carried on he did a very good show. I bought his CD!

“Now the first time seeing him as an adult I just went weak at the knees because he is John incarnate.”

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