The CBSO's smaller ensembles range from string trios to jazz bands, and perform throughout the season as part of the Osborn Chamber Music Programme, which includes our Centre Stage lunchtime concert series at CBSO Centre.
They're also at the heart of our Education and Community programme, giving over 75 performances a year in schools and community venues across the Midlands and beyond. Some of the most prominent of our ensembles are listed below, but in any season the CBSO has over 25 smaller associated ensembles in operation. To enquire about any of these groups, contact Maddi Belsey-Day.
Nothing raises the roof quite like a brass group – and the CBSO’s brass quintet is the perfect ensemble for festive occasions, ceremonial events, or just an evening of tuneful entertainment. Whether giving a summer afternoon concert in the Brindleyplace bandstand, playing fanfares for civic ceremonies, or tackling the classical repertoire for brass in the CBSO Centre Stage series, these five versatile players fit the bill, with music ranging from baroque to jazz and all points in between.
Violin: Julia Beisswanger
Violin: Kelly McCusker
Cello: Jackie Tyler
Harpsicord: Martin Perkins
The CBSO Baroque Ensemble was founded in 2004 with the aim of exploring baroque and classical repertoire on period instruments to complement the Orchestra's busy schedule. The core group consists of two violins plus continuo and expands to meet the needs of each individual project.
The Ensemble specialises in themed concerts which have included, 'Hark! I hear Musick!' based on Matthew Boulton’s music tastes and diary readings, 'A Pepys Portrait' with readings from Pepys' diaries and music he would have known and ‘Music from the Court of Frederick the Great’ with music and readings from Sans Soucis.
The ensemble has worked with many distinguished artists including Nicholas McGegan, Evelyn Tubb, Rachel Latham, Lynda Sayce, Natalie Clifton-Griffiths, Philip Jones and Michael Collie.
Formed in 2012, this awesome percussion quintet has been entertaining and educating schools, toddlers and families ever since.
Playing music from Spider-Man to Junk Percussion and from John Cage to Steve Reich, they are not averse to a spot of fancy dress (from Super-Ted to 'cuddly' Bumble Bees)! You're sure to be wowed by their massive, versatile, interactive and fun percussion shows!
Formed in 2013 'The Stringcredibles' are a string quartet of CBSO musicians, Catherine Arlidge, Bryony Morrison, Amy Fawcett and Helen Edgar, dedicated to Inspiring Creativity, Supporting Instrumental Learning and Connecting Children to Culture. The Stringcredibles have created several Key Stage specific performances for schools, work coaching young instrumentalists and also have a number of cross curricular 'hands-on' workshops supporting children to create and perform their own compositions.
Since 2014 The Stringcredibles have been 'artists-in-residence' at Pinfold Street Primary School, Walsall and their most recent visits elsewhere have included King Edwards Camp Hill School for Girls, Bordesley Green Girls School, Harborne Primary School, Greet Primary School, The Oaks Primary School, Broadmeadow Infant School and Highters Heath Community School.
The CBSO Cello Ensemble was set up by members of the CBSO Cello Section to showcase the gorgeous sounds of the instrument when combined in a group. Together, the ensemble can emulate the full range of sounds of the orchestra!
With CBSO cellist David Russell's brilliant arrangements at its heart, the ensemble’s repertoire ranges from Vivaldi to Dave Brubeck, with opera and cello standards along the way. The Ensemble can range in size from cello trio up to as many as 12 cellos.
Recent concerts have included appearances in the Centre Stage lunchtime concert series, a performance at the Four Squares Festival in Birmingham, and a special Cello Notelets concert for the under 5s which included the world premiere of our interpretation of Ravel's Bolero for 6 cellists on just one cello!’
Kaleidoscope is a flexible ensemble of CBSO musicians, using wind, brass and strings in various combinations. Initially set up to perform to schools audiences, the ensembles also often performs classical chamber repertoire in the CBSO Centre Stage Series and further afield. In their schools shows, Kaleidoscope aims to bring a different, accessible dimension to a chamber music performance, explaining musical concepts in an entertaining way and using PowerPoint projections. With repertoire from Bach to Piazzolla alongside contemporary popular and gaming music (Angry Birds has appeared on occasion!), they hope to share with their young audience that music is more part of everyday life than they might assume.