Integral to the success of the organ was the establishment of the post of Birmingham City Organist.
From the outset, the organ played a major role in the life of Town Hall and the City Fathers were anxious to allow its citizens free access to a regular series of weekly recitals.
The appointment is made by the City of Birmingham, with the first appointment in 1834 to coincide with the opening of the Hall.
Town Hall has always been the traditional home of the City Organist, and it was under one of the earliest City Organists, James Stimpson, that the popular weekly recitals began. So popular were the recitals that audiences of around 1,500 packed in every Monday evening in the 1840s.
The weekly recitals, now held on Monday at lunch time, have continued to the present day. The re-opening of a renovated and rejuvenated Town Hall in October 2007 will see some concerts returning to their home in Town Hall, Birmingham with others performed at Symphony Hall on the Klais organ.
Birmingham City Organists
Thomas Munden 1834-1837
George Hollins 1837-1841
James Stimpson 1842-1886
C W Perkins 1888-1923
G D Cunningham 1924-1949
Sir George Thalben-Ball 1949-1983
Thomas Trotter 1983-present day
The present City Organist, Thomas Trotter, was appointed in August 1983 following the retirement of Sir George Thalben-Ball. Thomas gave his first recital on the newly refurbished organ in October 1984.
In 1986 he celebrated the Hall’s 150th anniversary with a special concert given together with Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
The last concert to be given in the Hall before its closure for the recent refurbishment was given in July 1996, again with Simon Rattle conducting the CBSO and joined by Thomas Trotter as soloist in a performance of Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony No 3.
As City Organist, Thomas gave his 500th recital in October 2003 and gave the inaugural recital in the refurbished Town Hall in October 2007. Thomas also performed in a lunchtime organ concert on Monday 6 October 2008 to celebrate 25 years as Birmingham City Organist.