CBSO Hands Reins Of Full Symphony Orchestra Concert To 13 Youth Ambassadors

Youth Takeover – Thursday 9 January, 7:30pm: Symphony Hall, Birmingham  

The CBSO has given 13 Youth Ambassadors the unique opportunity to curate, programme and promote the first evening concert of the orchestra’s 2020 centenary year.

For the first time ever, in January, the CBSO will present CBSO: A Vision of the Future at  Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, handing complete control to 13 dynamic Youth Ambassadors, aged between 16 and 21, to run all aspects of the concert, including choosing the music to be performed by the full-sized orchestra conducted by their Assistant Conductor Jaume Santonja Espinós.

The Ambassadors have programmed a concert featuring works by Mason Bates, Debussy, Gershwin, Arturo Marquez, Anna Meredith, Piazzolla and Shostakovich. They will also present parts of the concert and give a pre-concert talk bringing to light their experience of taking over a symphony orchestra. 

In preparation for the concert, the Ambassadors have been involved in a series of facilitated workshops exploring areas including programming, presentation, marketing and development, as well as discussing repertoire choices and themes with CBSO musicians and working with presenters Tom Redmond and Catherine Arlidge. Supported by strategic members of CBSO staff, the Ambassadors have explored all aspects of creating and running a concert – what makes an effective programme, who they would like their target audience to be, considerations of customer experience and audience journeys, among a host of other areas. 

Stephen Maddock OBE, Chief Executive of CBSO, says: ‘Throughout its 100 years, the CBSO has thrived on the energy, imagination and uncompromising commitment of Birmingham’s young people. Through our new Youth Ambassadors programme we want to open our doors, welcome new ideas and harness their skills and passion. This is the first time we have handed over control of a full orchestral concert in this way and I can’t wait to see the results!

The Ambassadors, who were appointed by the CBSO via a letter of application and informal interview, are provided with tickets to CBSO concerts, offered the chance to meet and interview artists, given work experience opportunities and offered the opportunity to act as an advisory group feeding in to the CBSO’s wider engagement strategy.

Meet the CBSO Youth Ambassadors

Sehyogue: I'm hugely passionate about inclusion across the board but particularly within the arts. The CBSO Youth Ambassador role is a great platform to open up conversations surrounding classical music, diversity and inclusion; it's very exciting to be involved with an organisation advocating change!

Ed: I wanted to become a Youth Ambassador as it is a really exciting opportunity to help make orchestral music more accessible to new audiences and the role provides amazing insight into what it’s like working in an organisation like the CBSO.

Enya: I wanted to become a Youth Ambassador to help make the CBSO more accessible to a wider audience. I also hope to be a flautist in an orchestra, so I wanted to find out more about how a professional orchestra works behind the scenes. 

Youth Ambassadors Stage.

Katie: I’m thrilled to be a part of such an exciting project, especially being able to share such new and powerful ideas of what classical music means to us as young people. 

Ellen: I am currently on a gap year before I go on to study acoustical engineering in September 2020. I am excited to be a CBSO Youth Ambassador and hope to encourage young people to enjoy orchestral and classical music as I have over the years.

Noa: I’m not sure what I want to do in the future, other than I want a job related to music. Hopefully, the Youth Ambassador programme will inspire me and help me understand what different job roles are out there for me.

Caitlin: I play clarinet and sing with CBSO Youth Chorus. The Youth Ambassador Programme is something I’m excited to be a part of, and I hope we can open up a new audience to classical music.

Morgan: I saw the CBSO ambassador as a great way to promote music to get more people involved in all types of music especially orchestral music.

I’m Chloe and I’m twenty-two
(The eldest member of the crew)
I’m in my third year 
Of studying here 
And after? Who knows what I’ll do! 

Charlie: I wanted to be a Youth Ambassador as I would like to see different works bought to the concert hall and I'd love to see more young people going to see classical music. My favourite composer is Shostakovich and I once ate 25 bananas in 5 days.

Tyriq: The reason I wanted to become a Youth Ambassador is because it parallels with my ambition to bring music to new audiences, and sharing music that I personally adore with others, whilst collaborating with other young people with that mutual passionate drive, and learning off each other. The whole experience has been fantastic, and I have learnt so much. 

Maisy: I wanted to be a Youth Ambassador because I really want to see new people experience classical music and change expectations of what concerts are. When I'm not studying, you'll find me writing my blog, taking photos or binge watching Glee.

This concert has been made possible with generous support from the Rachel Baker Memorial Charity and the CBSO Development Trust's private endowment fund, with additional support from the M K Rose Charitable Trust.