Birmingham: The capital for young musicians this summer

10,000 young musicians are about to take over Birmingham for festivals, concerts and live music this summer, underlining the city’s status as one of the youngest and most creative in Europe.

In a period of just over a month, thousands of young musicians from all over the UK will perform at Birmingham’s two world famous concert halls, Town Hall and Symphony Hall and elsewhere in the city. From superchoirs, bands, youth orchestras, soloists and groups, through festivals, competitions and summer schools, the month will see enthusiastic youngsters perform music of all genres including jazz, rock, classical, folk and world music.

The centrepiece of this exciting month is the 5-day National Festival of Music for Youth celebrating 10 years in Birmingham between 8-12 July, in partnership with Town Hall & Symphony Hall (THSH) and Birmingham Conservatoire. The festival brings 8,000 talented young musicians to the city for main stage concerts and a vibrant festival fringe with satellite events, workshops, taster sessions and a family day.

The month-long takeover opens with the Brant International Piano Competition open to pianists aged 18-28 who are about to launch their own professional careers (5 July), and the concluding week sees a showcase from THSH’s own Jazzlines Summer School, for aspiring jazz musicians from beginners to advanced, whose participants are setting out on what could be a lifelong musical journey (8 August). Rounding off the month’s events is THSH’s Project SoundLounge (8-10 August), a new festival of emerging artists, programmed by young people for young people, showcasing the rich blend of musical diversity Birmingham has to offer, from jazz and soul to folk and rock.

Birmingham welcomes the inspirational National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for a fortnight-long residential course at the University of Birmingham, ending in a Symphony Hall concert (9 August) prior to their annual BBC Proms performance. This year’s conductor is CBSO Principal Guest Conductor, Edward Gardner.

In addition, there are performances from members of the 1000-strong Rock Choir, supertenor Russell Watson and 600 Midlands youngsters in AC Academy Youth Choirs, Birmingham’s own excellent musicians of the CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy, the London Schools Symphony Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain Under 12s Orchestra and international visitors Sonlight, the high school choir from Houston, Texas.

Activity extends beyond Town Hall & Symphony Hall: this year, the leading UK choir Ex Cathedra celebrates 10 years of its Singing Playgrounds primary schools project which has worked with over 500 schools in the UK and internationally.

Speaking of the importance of musical opportunities for young people, Andrew Jowett OBE, Chief Executive of Town Hall and Symphony Hall said:

We believe that music has the real potential to inspire and even change lives and we know that the opportunity to play or sing at Town Hall and Symphony Hall – two of the world’s most renowned concert halls – creates a memorable and lasting impression on young people. To be able to offer our stages for young musicians to enjoy such rewarding, participative experiences is a fantastic illustration of the value of Birmingham City Council’s funding of our two halls.


Notes to Editors
Attached image illustrates young people singing on stage at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Credit: THSH/Adrian Burrows

Event highlights:
5 July (Town Hall) – Now in its 35th year, the finals of the Brant International Piano Competition will see three outstanding young musicians, aged 18-28, battle for the coveted title and prize which includes a recital at Town Hall.

8-12 July (Town Hall, Symphony Hall, Adrian Boult Hall and across the city) – Music for Youth celebrates its 10th anniversary in Birmingham as 8000 talented young musicians from across the UK descend on the city for the five-day National Festival. Showcases of rock, pop and urban, jazz, folk, brass bands, choirs and orchestras, to name but a few, take place on the main stages. Sitting alongside is the festival fringe, family day, workshops, taster sessions and satellite stages.

8 August – a showcase performance illustrates a week’s work from the participants of Town Hall & Symphony Hall’s Jazzlines Summer School. Led by professional musicians, trumpeter Percy Pursglove and vocalist Sara Colman, the free summer school is open to 11-19 year olds from Birmingham. Kindly supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Leverhulme Trust.

9 August (Symphony Hall) – bristling with talent and teenage enthusiasm, the 150-strong National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain is one of Britain’s great virtuoso ensembles. Their conductor, Edward Gardner, is well-known to Birmingham audiences as Principal Guest Conductor of the CBSO.

About Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham

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 around 800 concerts and events a year, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to music from jazz, folk, world, roots and classical, to rock and pop. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and almost 12,000 young people and 6,000 adults participate in the thriving Education and Community programme.

Funded by Birmingham City Council
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

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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30 June 2014