Issue date: 12 August 2009

From Monday 17 August to Friday 21 August, Classic FM will be celebrating its partnership with Town Hall and Symphony Hall with ?The Sound of Birmingham? week.

During the week, each evening?s Full Works programme will feature a hand-picked selection of music associated with the venues and the city and, in the online Arts Daily podcasts, Bob Jones talks to Valery Gergiev about his forthcoming Berlioz Requiem at Symphony Hall, two Town Hall Associate Artists discuss their work and there?s an insight into the Birmingham International Concert Season.

Included in The Full Works concerts are recordings of works premiered at Town Hall like Elgar?s The Dream of Gerontius and Sullivan?s Overture di Ballo as well as music by Sibelius, Grieg, Ravel, Dvorak and Saint-Saens, all of whom performed their own compositions at the Grade I listed concert hall in central Birmingham.

Also included is Symphony Hall?s signature work, Mahler?s Second Symphony, which was performed at the Hall?s official opening in 1991 and at Sir Simon Rattle?s farewell as CBSO Music Director. Many of the featured recordings were made at Symphony Hall notably by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and there?s also an exclusive preview of the first concerto recording to be made in Town Hall since it re-opened – John Ireland?s piano concerto with soloist Mark Bebbington and Orchestra of the Swan conducted by David Curtis. The recording will be released on the Somm label in October.

In Arts Daily, Bob Jones talks to Valery Gergiev about the enormity of his forthcoming performances of the Berlioz Requiem with the combined orchestral and choral forces of his Mariinsky Theatre and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Ex Cathedra?s Jeffrey Skidmore sheds new light on Elgar?s The Dream of Gerontius and Louise Braithwaite talks about Orchestra of the Swan?s work with the THSH education and community department. You?ll also hear about Town Hall?s 175th anniversary as well as the Birmingham International Concert Season.

In the latest figures released by radio industry monitoring and research agency RAJAR, Classic FM has increased its audience by 303,000 listeners over the past three months and a total of 5.717 million adults now tune in to the station every week.

Classic FM and Symphony Hall have been partners since 2002, sharing a vision to create new audiences for classical music.

Each season, Classic FM selects highlights from the Birmingham International Concert Season, the largest international season of visiting classical musicians and orchestras outside London. This season?s recommended concerts include international diva Renée Fleming, pianist Lang Lang and conductor Riccardo Muti with the Philharmonia Orchestra and violinist Joshua Bell.

Visit www.classicfm.com/birmingham or www.thsh.co.uk for more information


Note to Editors:

List of Birmingham International Concert Season concerts ?Recommended by Classic FM?:

Birmingham International Concert Season

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity. 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/community department reaches a further 20,000 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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