With 24 concerts in 28 days - from CBSO super-fans, to first trips to Symphony Hall to see the orchestra - there truly has been something for everyone over February's 28 days. Highlights included:
- Schools' Concerts
- Relaxed Concerts for children with additional needs
- Family Concert
- Our best-attended performance since the pandemic
- Annual Circles' Dinner with the Music Director and CBSO musicians
- Project Remix
- The UK Premiere of Dett's The Ordering of Moses
- And much more...
We were delighted to be joined by Michael Seal and Tom Redmond for an hour-long celebration of nature.
Commuters were able to swap traffic and trains for a programme of classical favourites at Symphony Hall and a good time was had by all. The best bit? Everybody made it home in time for dinner!
Over the last two weeks, nearly 12,000 young people from across the Midlands (and beyond!) either attended a concert at Symphony Hall or CBSO Centre, performed by the Orchestra. We presented a total of 12 schools’ concerts and for many in the audience, this was their first experience of hearing an orchestra perform live.
We also presented two relaxed performances for pupils with additional needs at CBSO Centre. Based on The Wind in the Willows, these were performed and streamed live to a combined online and in person audience of 5,000 young people.
Check out the lovely feedback we received from some of the teachers who attended 👉
“It was so good to be able to take students to see live music again, and for many it was their first school trip in two years. The concert was excellent, and our students were buzzing about it afterwards. Tom Redmond brought the music to life brilliantly and what a great idea to have it in sign language as well”.
Michael Seal and Tom Redmond perfected their performance at our Rush Hour concert, ahead of presenting a similar programme to KS2 (between 7 and 11 years) and KS3 (between 11 and 14 years) pupils.
The Orchestra took the young people on a journey exploring the Natural World – featuring performances of works by Sibelius, Stravinsky, Smetana and Boulanger.
Children in KS1 joined Charlotte and Bryony’s Space Orchestra to embark on an out of this world adventure, racing through space and exploring music through activity and movement. They discovered the instruments of the orchestra and experienced stellar symphonic repertoire by Holst, Strauss and Williams. This one-hour concert, specifically designed to capture little imaginations, was unforgettable fun whilst fuelling learning and inspiring musicians and audiences of the future.
These concerts were generously supported by Services For Education, Deloitte and all the donors to our Schools' Concerts appeal.
Sunday 20 February was a hectic but rewarding day for our Learning and Engagement Team. Children took part in creative craft activities before joining conductor Delyana Lazarova, presenter Tom Redmond, and BSL Interpreter Sarah Butt for a performance including film music favourites alongside concert hall classics. Prior to the concert there were also informal pop up performances from sitarist Tommy Kholsa and the CBSO Children's Chorus.
After the concert, Project Remix participants took to the stage. Project Remix (supported by HSBC UK) uses well-known music with contemporary orchestral arrangements. This year we celebrated Birmingham’s rich cultural and musical heritage,with repertoire including a range of recent releases written and performed by popular South Asian artists.
Project Remix is open to instrumentalists who are Grade 5 standard or above. There is no audition,and participants in the free programme are mentored through weekly rehearsals by a team of CBSO musicians prior to a live performance in the spectacular surroundings of Symphony Hall.
Check out the gallery below to see the talented young people in rehearsal and performance.
The conductor Joshua Weilerstein thrilled the critics and our audience with his direction of The Ordering of Moses, a grand oratorio by the often-overlooked composer Dett. Reviews included:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ - The Guardian
"persuasive and ... thrillingly committed"
⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 - The Reviews Hub
"A wonderful evening of complementary pieces"
⭐⭐⭐⭐ - The Times
"With solo cello and bassoon outstanding, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra played with verve under Joshua Weilerstein’s direction. The CBSO Chorus sounded superbly prepared and sang with passion and faultless precision"
⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Midlands Music Review
"The performance of The Ordering of Moses from the CBSO, CBSO Chorus and heroic soloists Nadine Benjamin, Chrystal E Williams, Rodrick Dickson and Eric Greene was magnificent under the admirable conductor Joshua Weilerstein. Simon Halsey's chorus just seems to grow and grow in awesome projection, and the sound made by all concerned as the cantata reached its conclusion drew a huge standing ovation."
There are few things more exciting than a full hall, and 100 Years of Movie Magic saw our largest audience since autumn 2020. The atmosphere was incredible, and the energy of the audience was hugely uplifting. As one audience member put it: "Tremendous evening. Seemed like everyone was just really happy to be there.. orchestra and audience alike"
Who enjoyed the performance most, you ask? Pictures suggest it was the percussion section.
WELCOMING YOUNG PEOPLE
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February finished up with the much-anticipated return of the CBSO Youth Orchestra. Open to all Midlands' young musicians aged 13 to 21, the CBSO Youth Orchestra gives its members an unmatched opportunity to be part of an internationally renowned orchestra, playing challenging music in prestigious venues with top professional conductors and soloists.
During half term, CBSO Centre was packed with these talented young people as they rehearsed for their performance under the baton of Joshua Weilerstein. Despite a last-minute change of soloist, the players were unfazed and gave a spectacular performance alongside pianist Dr Samantha Ege.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, receiving several glowing reviews.