Issued: 22 September 2008

With the success of recent TV programmes like Classical Star, Maestro and Last Choir Standing, classical music is enjoying a surge in popularity and accessibility.

At Town Hall and Symphony Hall, the new season of classical music gets underway in October with the launch of the 2008/09 Birmingham International Concert Season of world-renowned visiting orchestras and musicians, and a series of friendly and accessible daytime concerts.

Birmingham International Concert Season
The Birmingham International Concert Season opens on Tuesday 7 October at Symphony Hall with Mahler’s Third Symphony whose gargantuan proportions make performances of this work a rarity. The noted Mahler conductor, Iván Fischer, conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra in this large-scale work, and forms part of their 25th anniversary European tour. In December, Sir Simon Rattle returns to conduct two Schumann symphonies and the great guitarist John Williams gives a recital in November, both at Symphony Hall. Threaded in between are concerts of passionate Wagner, emotional Tchaikovsky and sublime Strauss, and all this before Christmas!

Daytime events
As part of the daytime series of events, the Stratford-based Orchestra of the Swan begin their second season as Town Hall Associate Artists on 12 October with a Sunday matinee entitled ‘Italian Sunshine’ featuring Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. Sunday matinees follow with the Brodsky Quartet at Town Hall, and celebrated pianist Mitsuko Uchida plays and directs the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in two of Mozart?s greatest piano concertos at Symphony Hall, both in November.

The first of the Sunday Morning Coffee Concerts features Chinese pianist Di Xiao who is Town Hall & Symphony Hall?s nominee in the prestigious ECHO Rising Stars series. She launches her European tour with a recital of music by Beethoven and Mozart at Town Hall on 26 October. Meanwhile, the BBC Radio 3 series of midweek lunchtime concerts return to Town Hall on 16 October with violinist Veronika Eberle.

For full details see or phone the Box Office on 0121 780 3333.

Note to Editors
Birmingham International Concert Season is the largest international classical music series in the UK outside London. Concerts take place at Town Hall and Symphony Hall. Tickets for every concert in the Birmingham International Concert Season begin at £5 and there is a large range of discounts available.
Download a Birmingham International Concert Season guide
First night -Tuesday 7 October – Budapest Festival Orchestra plays Mahler?s Third Symphony at Symphony Hall
Daytime concert series (at Town Hall unless otherwise stated):
Orchestra of the Swan matinees (commences Sun 12 Oct, 2.30pm with ?Italian Sunshine?). Tickets £6.50-£19.50
BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts (commences Thurs 16 Oct, 1pm with Veronika Eberle, violin & Oliver Schnyder, piano). Tickets £7.50 (with reductions)
Sunday Morning Coffee Concerts (commences Sun 26 Oct, 11am with Di Xiao, piano). Tickets £7.50 (with reductions) and includes sherry/tea/coffee or juice
Some Birmingham International Concert Season concerts are matinees, including Mitsuko Uchida (23 Nov, 3pm at Symphony Hall) and Brodsky Quartet (16 Nov, 3pm, Town Hall)

Performances Birmingham
Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity. Between them, the two halls host 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 the thriving Education/Community department reaches a further 20,000 people of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m restoration funded by Birmingham City Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and European Regional Development Fund.