The CBSO Announces Return To Live Concerts


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City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Announces Return To Live Concerts

CBSO to stage eighteen socially-distanced concerts at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall between May and July

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is to return to Symphony Hall Birmingham as restrictions are lifted to allow live performances for the first time this year, with concerts for socially-distanced audiences to take place each Wednesday from 19 May – 7 July.

A new acoustic screen has been installed at the rear of the Symphony Hall stage, allowing a larger number of musicians to play together while maintaining social distancing than has previously been possible; this means CBSO audiences will see possibly the largest orchestra performing regularly anywhere in the UK at this time.

Each programme will be performed twice, at 2pm and 6:30pm, to allow as many people as possible to join in person whilst seating capacity is still restricted due to Covid regulations.

Highlights of the concerts announced today include two programmes with Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, featuring the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel Symphony (16 June) and a programme of Weinberg and Mahler with mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill (23 June); Edward Gardner conducting Stephen Hough in Saint-Saëns’ energetic Piano Concerto No. 4 (19 May) and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 with Alina Ibragimova (7 July); the UK premiere of Julian Anderson’s major new cello concerto Litanies with Alban Gerhardt conducted by Kazuki Yamada (30 June); a concert showcasing one of the twentieth century’s biggest masterpieces, Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5, conducted by Nicholas Collon (26 May); Beethoven’s sparkling Piano Concerto No.2 with soloist Paul Lewis and conductor Chloé van Soeterstède (2 June); a programme of English music with tenor Ian Bostridge conducted by Michael Seal (9 June); and a special Friday Night Classics programme of Summer Classics with conductor Michael Seal and violinist Jonathan Martindale (Friday 2 July). 

Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the CBSO, said: ‘We are so thrilled to be able to welcome audiences back to our home at Symphony Hall and to be able to share the joy of live orchestral music with them once more. Today we’re announcing our programme for eight weekly pairs of concerts from May onwards and we feel sure that the people of Birmingham and the Midlands will want to rush back to enjoy the glorious sound of full-scale orchestral music after more than a year in which we have all been denied this opportunity.’

These live concerts have been made possible by the incredible generosity of the thousands of individual donors, companies and charitable trusts which have contributed to our Sound of the Future campaign, and by Arts Council England who recently awarded the CBSO £480,000 as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The CBSO is hugely grateful for this vital support. To play your part in securing the orchestra’s recovery from the Covid crisis, join us as a member today.