Nurturing talent

With your support we will give budding and brilliant musicians unrivalled opportunities to realise their potential right here in Birmingham.

In the Recovery phase your support will help us to:

  • Restart our Youth Orchestra, and Children’s and Youth Choruses
  • Use online tools in situations where it is not possible for members to meet in person in order to avoid disrupting the musical and social development of young people

In the Renewal phase, we aim to:

  • Launch international careers through our Assistant Conductor programme
  • Remove barriers to access by offering orchestral fellowships for early career professional musicians from diverse backgrounds
  • Continue to offer full and partial bursaries towards our two youth choirs and two youth orchestras

"When it comes to discovering new talent few ensembles boast a track record like that of the CBSO in England." 
The New York Times

Alpesh's Story

"The CBSO is the orchestra that I grew up with, it’s what I know an orchestra to be. More than other orchestras there seems to be this deeply personal connection that people feel to the organisation - that means a huge amount to audiences, and participants like me.

My school had assemblies every morning and our instrumental teachers would play. I heard the cello for the first time and something just clicked. I ended up going home with one that day. I remember struggling home with this thing – it was bigger than me - and my Mum and Dad exclaiming, ‘What is that?!’ My parents have since been huge supporters of my music studies and career. Many of my teachers were associated with the CBSO – chamber music coaches as well as cello teachers – and I was lucky to play in the CBSO’s Youth Orchestra as Principal Cello.

At secondary school I was dedicated to my cello lessons but also started getting obsessed with conducting. I had my first lessons thanks to the CBSO’s Youth Orchestra Summer Academy. This was such a great grounding for my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, during which I would attend the orchestra’s rehearsals; I was constantly on the road between Birmingham and Manchester! It was an invaluable insight into working with a professional orchestra and led to me becoming the CBSO’s Conducting Fellow. In 2014 I then took up the newly created position of Assistant Conductor which really planted me back in my home city and launched my international career."

Alpesh Chauhan, Music Director, Birmingham Opera Company and Associate Conductor, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Alpesh Chauhan conducts the CBSO.
Alpesh Chauhan conducts the CBSO.
CBSO Children's Chorus perform at Symphony Hall.
CBSO Children's Chorus perform at Symphony Hall.
CBSO Youth Chorus in rehearsal.
CBSO Youth Chorus in rehearsal.
CBSO Youth Orchestra in rehearsal.
CBSO Youth Orchestra in rehearsal.
Ralph, left, during Project Remix.
Ralph, left, during Project Remix.

Ralph's Story

"I started my musical journey playing the cornet, but it was the guitar that really captured my imagination so I started having lessons at primary school. I’ve got a really eclectic taste in music so the guitar – and by extension, the CBSO's Project Remix training orchestra – have been amazing for enabling me to span musical genres whilst really developing my technical skills. For one of the Project Remixes I arranged Where the Streets Have No Name by U2 for the orchestra. I ended up singing and playing the guitar for my own arrangement which was just the best feeling! Thanks to Project Remix I’ve played under the baton of lots of incredible conductors, which not many guitar players can say. 

One of my favourite CBSO memories is being drafted in last minute to play in a CBSO concert at Sutton Park because the guitarist they’d booked had broken down and couldn’t make it. The CBSO were wearing white jackets for that gig, and by chance I’d had my 6th form ball the night before and I’d hired a white jacket. I got to wear it again! It was such a thrill to play at an open air concert like that. And a real boost to my confidence that, once again, the CBSO put their faith in me and trusted me to play in a concert at that level. 

It’s hard to articulate the extent to which the CBSO and Project Remix have impacted my life choices. It’s been incredibly nurturing; I always feel comfortable and able to ask questions. It’s led me to pursue my guitar studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where I’m now in my final year. The opportunities it can afford young people are just amazing."

Ralph Porrett, Project Remix participant


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