City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The CBSO is a world-renowned symphony orchestra, known and loved across the globe.
The CBSO was founded in 1920 by the city’s civic leaders, led by Neville Chamberlain. The Orchestra’s inaugural concert was conducted by Sir Edward Elgar.
Current music director Andris Nelsons is the latest in a line of renowned conductors to hold this post, including Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Simon Rattle. Nelsons leads an outstanding artistic team including principal guest conductor Edward Gardner, associate conductor Michael Seal, and chorus director Simon Halsey.
The CBSO perform around 130 concerts a year. As well as the Birmingham season, this includes concerts regionally, nationally and internationally, where the orchestra acts as a proud ambassador for Birmingham.
As the resident orchestra of Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the CBSO has a wide reaching programme of music ranging from Beethoven to Bollywood, symphonic and contemporary classical, as well as a lighter series of Friday Night classics, and concerts that the whole family can enjoy. It works with some of the best artists such as Jonas Kaufmann, Mitsuko Uchida and Ian Bostridge, alongside up-and-coming talents and famous personalities.
The CBSO’s learning and participation work reaches over 35,000 people each year in diverse communities across the West Midlands, and ranges from projects bringing music to nurseries in disadvantaged areas of the city, to work developing the next generation of talented young musicians.
The CBSO family also includes
- The CBSO Chorus
- Two auditioned choirs for young people, the CBSO Children’s and Youth Choruses
- Two unauditioned community choirs, the adult choir CBSO SO Vocal and CBSO Young Voices in partnership with Birmingham Music Service
- The CBSO Youth Orchestra
- And a wide range of chamber ensembles from within the orchestra who perform at CBSO Centre and beyond.
The CBSO and Birmingham
People around the world know Birmingham because of the CBSO and the impact it has had on classical music. As a result, they have an orchestra that is made up of some of the finest musicians from around the world who have chosen to join the Orchestra and made the city their home. There are in fact 13 nationalities in the Orchestra alone!
The CBSO is known for spotting and developing the most exciting young talent. Sir Simon Rattle (currently Berlin Philharmonic) and their Music Director, Andris Nelsons, were relatively unknown before they came to Birmingham, yet these conductors are now two of the biggest names on the classical stage and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the CBSO's young musicians and singers that have been part of the CBSO family through their Youth Orchestra and Choruses are now working across the world as performers in their own right.
Our Orchestra and Chorus can rival any in the world and are also blessed with the fact that they reside at one of the best concert halls in the world – Symphony Hall. It’s a partnership made in heaven and we’re both right here in Birmingham.
With a 92 year history, the CBSO’s success is built on the passionate support of local audiences who have attended and championed our work. We’re proud to say we are a Brummie!
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