Symphony Hall's 21st anniversary festival begins today

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Symphony Hall is celebrating 21 years of bringing great music to Birmingham with a major festival featuring performances from Billy Connolly, Kailash Kher, Elvis Costello, John Malkovich, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; concerts from the Royal Opera, Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet, Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic, and events delivered in partnership with Fierce Festival, Ex Cathedra and The International Convention Centre.

Other highlights of the festival, which opens on Wednesday 11 January, include ‘Wagnerfest’ – a landmark mini-series featuring outstanding international orchestras, a Scott of the Antartic Centenary Concert with the City of London Sinfonia, The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Choir of St Thomas Church performing St Matthew Passion, eight shows of the stage spectacular Lord of the Dance, Valery Gergiev conducting the Chorus & Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, a date from TV star and stand-up comedian Sarah Millican, a screening of magical 1939 film The Wizard of Oz accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by John Wilson and a special 21st Anniversary recital by City Organist Thomas Trotter.

The full festival listings can be found at

21 years ago, Birmingham presented the world with an acoustically-unrivalled, modern concert hall. Symphony Hall opened to immediate public and critical acclaim – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle giving two concerts on Monday 15 April 1991. A few months later, on Wednesday 12 June 1991, a concert to commemorate the official opening of the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal took place.

With its world class acoustics and stunning auditorium, the landmark building is considered to be not only the UK’s finest concert hall but also one of the best in the world.

2012 is a very special year for Symphony Hall as we celebrate our 21st anniversary with an extraordinary line-up of world class artists, innovative projects and large scale and participative events. Since 1991, over 10 million people have come here to enjoy, participate in and learn more about music. We’ve welcomed hundreds of the greatest artistes on the musical stage – from Placido Domingo to Alison Krauss, Cecilia Bartoli to Tony Bennett and Bruce Springsteen to Ravi Shankar. The Birmingham International Concert Season has become one of the UK’s most important seasons of visiting musicians, and of course we’re also the home of the celebrated City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, currently enjoying massive international acclaim under their brilliant young conductor Andris Nelsons.

– Andrew Jowett, Director of Town Hall & Symphony Hall

The full Symphony Hall 21st anniversary festival press release can be found here

Image credit: Sterlic