Bowie, Blur, Beethoven and Britney: Mark Allan music photography at Barbican exhibition

Mark Allan, who has spent over 30 years in music and entertainment photography, will showcase some of his most striking images at Barbican Music Library’s ‘It’s NOT only Rock ‘n’ Roll’ exhibition.

David Bowie, Tina Turner, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Gorillaz, Mariah Carey and Robbie Williams are among the leading performers and groups photographed by Mark during an extraordinary career that taken him from Wembley and the Royal Albert Hall to the Kremlin and a drought-ravaged Ethiopia.

Other highlights in the free exhibition (4 April – 29 June) will include Freddie Mercury on stage at Live Aid and U2, photographed backstage at the Manchester Ethiad Stadium for the Radio Times ‘Live 8’ cover.

Mark has worked for a wide range of magazines, including Mixmag, Q, and Select and music shows on the BBC, Channel 4 and MTV. For much of the last decade, he has documented performances for the BBC, many of them, at the Maida Vale studios for shows such as Zane Lowe, Annie Mac, and Live Lounge.

A regular photographer of classical music concerts at the Barbican, Mark will also present a selection of his images of some of the world’s most renowned conductors, including Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, and Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“Since his early days working on London Student while studying at Goldsmiths College, Mark Allan has photographed many outstanding musical artists and conductors, either, backstage, or next to the stage or in the audience at major concerts.

“Whether you enjoy classical music, rock ‘n’ roll, or appreciate the art involved in photography that, seemingly effortlessly, captures live performance, this new exhibition at Barbican Music Library will definitely be worth a visit.”

Mark Allan said:

“There’s as much drama and excitement in a classical music performance at the Barbican as there is at a rock concert at Wembley, and I hope that this exhibition will convey some sense of that, and how it feels to be there.

“Since the 1980s, I’ve been hugely privileged to work with some legendary performers, many of them featured in this show at Barbican Music Library, so I hope that visitors will enjoy the selection of images that I’ve chosen.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Barbican Music Library and is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.

The City Corporation is also developing Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate – a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years. This includes £110m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £4.9m for a detailed business case and next stage development, fundraising, and design work for the proposed Centre for Music.


Notes for Editors:

It’s NOT only Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – the music photography of Mark Allan presented at Barbican Music Library from 4 April to 29 June 2019. Admission FREE

Photographer Mark Allan and Michael Southwell, Barbican Music Librarian, are available for interview. For further details and hi-res images, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 /


About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About Barbican Music Library:

Barbican Music Library, which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, is a vibrant public library in the heart of the Barbican Centre with books, spoken word recordings, DVDs, CDs and scores available for loan to all visitors. The Library has particular strengths in music (including listening facilities and practice pianos), arts, children's and financial sections, as well as Internet access and self-service photocopying. Membership is available to those who live, work or study in the City of London, and regular visitors to the Barbican.

Barbican Music Library is on Level 2, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. It is within walking distance of a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate. The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon. Bus route 153 runs directly past the Barbican. Free bicycle spaces and paid car parking spaces are available.

Opening times are: Monday and Wednesday 9.30am–5.30pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am–7.30pm, Friday 9.30am–2pm, and Saturday 9.30am–4pm.

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