The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is the flagship of musical life in Birmingham and the West Midlands – and one of the world’s great orchestras
Resident Orchestra at Symphony Hall, it gives over 130 concerts each year in Birmingham, the UK and around the world, playing music that ranges from classics to contemporary, film music and even symphonic disco. With a far-reaching community programme and a family of choruses and ensembles, it’s involved in every aspect of music-making in the Midlands. But at its centre is a team of 90 superb professional musicians, and a 95-year tradition of making the world’s greatest music, right here in the heart of Birmingham.
That local tradition started with the orchestra’s very first symphonic concert in 1920 – conducted by Sir Edward Elgar. Ever since then, through war, recessions, social change and civic renewal, the CBSO has been proud to be Birmingham’s orchestra. Under principal conductors including Adrian Boult, George Weldon, Andrzej Panufnik and Louis Frémaux, the CBSO won an artistic reputation that spread far beyond the Midlands.
But it was when the Orchestra discovered the young British conductor Simon Rattle in 1980 that the CBSO became internationally famous – and showed how the arts can help give a new sense of direction to a whole city.
Now, under the dynamic leadership of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, associate conductor Michael Seal and assistant conductor Jonathan Bloxham, the CBSO continues to do what it does best – playing great music for the people of Birmingham and the Midlands. The 2016-17 season ranges from Handel, Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Mahler to opera and contemporary classical music - while popular Friday night shows and lively family concerts offer world-class music making for all tastes and all ages.