The CBSO Youth Orchestra is the leading youth orchestra in the Midlands, and one of the most ambitious and dynamic ensembles of its type anywhere in the world.
Coached by CBSO musicians, run by CBSO management, and conducted by some of the world’s leading conductors, it gives the orchestral players of tomorrow an experience that’s as close as possible to playing in a professional symphony orchestra.
Founded in 2004 as the successor to the famous Midlands Youth Orchestra, the CBSO Youth Orchestra meets three times a year, giving concerts at both Symphony Hall and Town Hall, Birmingham. The 100+ members range in age from 13 (in year 9) to 21, and come from across the Midlands region – with a generous bursary scheme ensuring that membership is open to young musicians from all backgrounds.
The Orchestra works with conductors of the stature of Andris Nelsons, Edward Gardner and Sakari Oramo, and it aims high, playing demanding repertoire to critical acclaim. “What a hope for the future we have” declared The Birmingham Post after the Youth Orchestra gave the UK premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Passchendaele in 2014.
And with a commitment to new music, the CBSO Youth Orchestra seeks to prepare its members for a world of music-making that goes beyond the concert hall. During the annual CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy, informal conducting, concerto and composition workshops give members a chance to explore completely new artistic directions.
Over its first decade, the CBSO Youth Orchestra has helped many members take a first step into the music profession, providing valuable training for alumni including Ben Gernon (a Saltzburg conducting competition-winner and former Dudamel Fellow of the Los Angeles Philharmonic), Jamie Phillips (Associate Conductor of the Halle) and the Brit Award-nominated singer-songwriter Laura Mvula. It has given hundreds more the social and personal benefits of working as part of a world-class artistic team. It continues to do so, through some of the liveliest, freshest and most inspirational music-making you’ll ever hear. It’s an orchestra for the 21st century, and whether you get the chance to play in it, or simply hear it in concert, it has a habit of changing the way you think about the future of classical music.