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The CBSO are to perform for a live audience of over 30,000 people and a television audience of over a billion at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony!

We are thrilled to be part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony alongside some of the region’s most celebrated and inspiring artists.

Iqbal Khan, Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has today unveiled the music line-up that will provide the soundtrack for his ceremony which takes place on Thursday 28 July at 8pm.

Returning to the city where their four-decade career began, global hitmakers Duran Duran will be the finale to the Ceremony’s stunning musical offer, featuring some of the city’s most celebrated artists and promoting its emerging talent on a global stage, from Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, as well as rising stars Indigo Marshall and Gambimi, under the musical direction of rapper, artist and educator Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness. We're also excited to be sharing the stage with twelve dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet who will be performing a specially created piece for the ceremony.

Photograph of viola player Adam Romer and other string players recording whilst wearing headphones
Credit: Hannah Fathers 2022

See behind the scenes of our Commonwealth Games recording session...

In addition to performing at the opening ceremony, the CBSO has already recorded all 72 of the national anthems of the competing countries, so there will be ample opportunities to hear the Orchestra playing throughout the Games. The Orchestra also performed at Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty The Queen on 7 October 2021, at the beginning of The Queen's Baton Relay.

Birmingham’s Opening and Closing ceremonies will be staged at the newly-redeveloped Alexander Stadium in front of a live audience of over 30,000 people and a television audience of over a billion. With the best of Birmingham’s creative minds at its helm, and its best-loved talent at its heart, this ceremony will be a major moment for the region with the world watching, brought to life by the sounds of this vibrant city.

Birmingham’s multi-Grammy winning Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) and acclaimed saxophonist Soweto Kinch will lead a dream sequence, Hear my Voice, based on the title track from 2020 film Trial of the Chicago Seven, re-imagined here by Birmingham-born RnB vocalists Indigo Marshall and Gambimi - both making waves on the regional and national scene.

Birmingham Conservatoire graduate and mezzo-soprano Samantha Oxborough will take the prestigious role of performing the National Anthem for the United Kingdom as part of the formal opening of the Games, supported by the celebrated City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under acclaimed conductor Alpesh Chauhan, while musicians from The Royal Marines deliver a rousing trumpet fanfare.

A massed choir of over 700 voices, comprised of 15 choirs from across the West Midlands will flood the arena, led by Carol Pemberton and Black Voices, one of Europe’s leading female a cappella groups.

Meanwhile, musicians from across the region, representing global musical styles, provide the bed for major theatrical moments throughout the production, including a Call to Gather sequence for the whole Commonwealth, featuring two-time, Grammy-award winning percussionist Lekan Babalola, vocalist Ranjana Ghatak, shawm player Jude Rees, bagpiper Chris Crouch and Djembe player Abraham Paddy Tetteh, with Birmingham-wide Dohl drummers providing a percussive backdrop to stunning visual moments.

These rich musical threads, will set the stage for iconic British band, Duran Duran to draw the Opening Ceremony to a close, performing four much-loved tracks from their remarkable catalogue.

With ceremonial traditions including the athletes’ parade and stunning firework finale, the Opening Ceremony will open the Games with spectacle and emotion. The Closing Ceremony (8 Aug), line up will be announced in the coming weeks. Set to be the party of the year – it will feature a host of West Midlands music talent past, present and future.