Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12 - In Brief



  • First events announced within six month festival celebrating Symphony Hall?s 21st anniversary in 2012
  • Wagnerfest – four great Wagner operas with The Royal Opera, Mariinsky Orchestra & Chorus, CBSO and Opera North
  • 21st anniversary includes concerts by CBSO with Andris Nelsons and Vienna Philharmonic with Sir Simon Rattle
  • Scott of the Antarctic Centenary Concert with expedition photos and world premiere by Cecilia McDowall
  • Screenings of Dracula with original music by Philip Glass, and The Wizard of Oz with live soundtrack
  • John Malkovich stars in The Infernal Comedy
  • Duke Bluebeard?s Castle with ground-breaking video installation – world premiere production
  • Bach: A Beautiful Mind weekend returns
  • Recitals by Lang Lang (Opening Concert of the 2011/12 Season), Andr�s Schiff, Andreas Scholl, Juilliard String Quartet, Leif Ove Andsnes
  • Superb international orchestras and soloists including Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Thomanerchor, Lahti Symphony Orchestra and St Petersburg Philharmonic, Sir John Tomlinson, Bryn Terfel and Simon Trpčeski

General booking opens on 23 May for Town Hall and Symphony Hall?s 2011/12Birmingham International Concert Season, one of the largest international classical music series in the UK.

The flagship classical season includes the first concerts to be announced within a six-month Festival celebrating Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary (the wider Festival programme will be announced in due course). The Festival begins in January 2012 with the start of a ?Wagnerfest?: The Royal Opera and Antonio Pappano perform Die Meistersinger, the first of four great Wagner operas to be heard during the Festival. Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal and Die Walk�re are played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Andris Nelsons, Mariinsky Theatre company with Valery Gergiev (the first opera company to appear at Symphony Hall in August 1991), and Opera North under Richard Farnes respectively.

A series of special anniversary projects includes a Centenary tribute to Captain Scott by the City of London Sinfonia with photographs from the ill-fated Antarctic expedition and evocative readings from Scott?s diary narrated by Ben Fogle. There are film screenings of The Wizard of Oz with live orchestral score, and Dracula with original music performed by renowned minimalist composer Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet. John Malkovich stars in The Infernal Comedy a stage play for baroque orchestra, singers and actor based on the chilling, true story of serial killer-turned-author, Jack Unterweger.

The Festival culminates in June 2012 with a week of concerts marking the anniversary of the official opening by HM The Queen beginning with The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons and Simon Halsey, with soloist Bryn Terfel. City Organist Thomas Trotter gives a Celebrity Organ Concert marking the ten years since the Klais instrument was installed following a �1.5m fundraising appeal. And, 21 years since he conducted the opening concerts, Sir Simon Rattle returns to the hall he helped create, this time with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Earlier in the Season, the Philharmonia Orchestra brings another extraordinary event with visuals to Symphony Hall – the world premiere production of a ground-breaking video installation of Duke Bluebeard?s Castle starring Measha Brueggergosman and Sir John Tomlinson. A concert of music in honour of HM The Queen?s Diamond Jubilee includes Handel?s Coronation Anthems, Water Music Suite and Musick for the Royal Fireworks. Another major project is the return of the popular mini-series Bach: A Beautiful Mind which includes visits from the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Thomanerchor (celebrating its own 800th anniversary) and a recital by Angela Hewitt.

The Opening Concert of the Season is a celebrity recital by the pianist Lang Lang (sponsored by Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies) who leads the customary procession of the world?s most eminent musicians, outstanding orchestras and celebrated recitalists to Birmingham?s two outstanding venues. Other highlights, among a season of highlights, are international visiting orchestras, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (whose first UK appearance was at Symphony Hall), St Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse with Tugan Sokhiev. Soloists and recitalists include pianists Leif Ove Andsnes, Freddy Kempf, John Lill, Steven Osborne, Andr�s Schiff and Simon Trpčeski, countertenor Andreas Scholl and two appearances each from singers Bryn Terfel and Sir John Tomlinson, to name but a few.

Commenting on the Season, Andrew Jowett, Director of Town Hall & Symphony Hall said, ?2011/12 is lining up to be a great season artistically and a very special one forSymphony Hall as we celebrate its 21st anniversary with an extraordinary line-up ofworld class artists, innovative projects and large scale events. It is also a very specialyear for me, looking back on the 23 years I have been at the helm of thisextraordinary concert hall and, more recently, the wonderfully refurbished Town Hall.The Birmingham International Concert Season has a proud reputation as one of theUK?s most important seasons of visiting musicians – where else in Britain could you seefour major Wagner operas in a single season, for example! Continuing to present suchan array of world class talent is an increasing challenge in these economically insecuretimes and facing a _significant reduction in our sole source of public funding.Birmingham City Council, our _sponsors, supporters and audiences are more vital thanever and we take this _opportunity to thank them sincerely for their continued loyalty.I remain immensely _proud that 21 years on, Symphony Hall – declared acousticallyperfect at its opening – is _still at the top of the list of the world?s greatest concert hallsand is still cherished by the _people of Birmingham. We intend to continue to play ourpart in maintaining _Birmingham?s reputation as a great cultural city on the internationalstage.?

Funding from Birmingham City Council enables Town Hall and Symphony Hall to continue to attract the world?s greatest musicians to appear on Birmingham?s prestigious stages. Ticket prices for Birmingham International Season Concerts start at just �9.50 and a wide range of discounts is available. Town Hall & Symphony Hall also gratefully acknowledges the financial support of sponsors as well as the many companies, trusts, foundations and individuals.

Further information is available from


Notes to Editors

Subscription packages now available
General booking opens on Monday 23 May
Town Hall & Symphony Hall Box Office 0121 780 3333
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Symphony Hall?s Opening Concerts

Mon 15 April 1991 FIRSTCONCERTS (7.30pm & 9.15pm) with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle

Wed 12 June 1991 Concert to commemorate the official opening of the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle. Earlier in the day, HM The Queen officially opened both buildings.

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a Registered Charity No 1053937. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and a thriving Education and Community department reaches a further 10,000 people of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a �35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (�18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (�13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (�3m).

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(�2 fee per transaction charged on all bookings except purchases made in person at the box office)

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Fiona Fraser/Lyle Bignon
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Issued 6 May 2011