Who We Are

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is the flagship of musical life in Birmingham and the West Midlands – and one of the world’s great orchestras.

Based in Symphony Hall, it gives over 100 concerts each year in Birmingham, the UK and around the world, playing music that ranges from classics to contemporary, film music and even symphonic disco. With a far-reaching community programme and a family of world-class choruses and youth ensembles, it’s involved in every aspect of music-making in the region.

Elgar conducted the orchestra’s very first symphonic concert in 1920. But it was when it discovered the young British conductor Simon Rattle in 1980 that the CBSO became internationally famous. Rattle’s successors Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons helped cement that global reputation. 

Now, under the dynamic leadership of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, associate conductor Michael Seal, assistant conductor Jonathan Bloxham and chorus director Simon Halsey CBE, the CBSO continues to do what it does best – playing great music for the people of Birmingham and the Midlands. As it approaches its centenary in 2020, the CBSO, more than ever, remains the heart of musical life in the UK’s Second City.