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The CBSO or City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1920 by Birmingham’s civic leaders, led by MP Neville Chamberlain who later became UK Prime Minister (1937-1940). Originally known by the shorter title of City of Birmingham Orchestra, it changed to its current name in 1948. The CBSO is the resident orchestra at Birmingham Symphony Hall, playing around 130 concerts a year, and has released music on its own label and on other labels. The CBSO also runs a range of choirs as well as community music projects to help disadvantaged areas and develop the next generation of musical talent.


Violinist Baiba Skride. Picture by Marco Borggreve.

Review: CBSO, Olari Elts and Baiba Skride at Symphony Hall

Olari Elts went on to sculpt Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony in big, sweeping gestures and a positively lurid palette of orchestral colours.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Review: Nicola Benedetti: Szymanowski, CBSO at Symphony Hall

Benedetti was here for the first episode in the orchestra's survey of both Szymanowski Violin Concertos.

Michael Seal conducting CBSO

Review: Serenade To Music, CBSO at Symphony Hall

There was so much headily exciting about the evening, which must surely have been the highlight for delegates to this year's Association of British Orchestra's conference, hosted so brilliantly by the CBSO.

Music conductor Andrew Gourlay

Review: CBSO at Symphony Hall Birmingham

Despite the continuing uncertainties over finding a successor to Andris Nelsons, the CBSO remains in tremendous shape, and nothing could have proved it more spectacularly than Saturday's amazing achievement of two concerts within a few hours of each other.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla

Has CBSO finally found its next music director?

Christopher Morley is hoping a recent concert will finally end speculation about an Andris Nelson’s replacement.

Edward Gardner

Review: Henry V, CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall

The first in the CBSO's concerts devoted to music inspired by “Our Shakespeare” began with Richard Strauss's seldom-heard tone poem Macbeth.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla

Could CBSO get its first female musical director?

A hastily arranged concert has prompted rumours a replacement to Andris Nelsons is imminent

Goldie is among several people from the West Midlands to be recognised in the New Year Honours list

Goldie and Cure Leukaemia founder receive new year honours

Musician who blazed a trail for drum and bass is made an MBE while Professor Charles Craddock is a CBE for services to medical research - see all the West Midlands honours here

Town Hall Birmingham is among those organisations to be hit by a cut in council funding for the arts

Arts funding in Birmingham cut by 25pc

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is among those hit after city council announced third reduction in funding since 2010

Violinist Alina Ibragimova

Review: Tchaikovsky's Fourth, CBSO at Symphony Hall

Alina Ibragimova burrowed into entries and emerged smilingly at the top of each paragraph, in a reading which was indeed one of seriousness and smiles, combining assertive statements with sweet lyricism, her altissimo notes angelically pure.

Oliver Knussen

Review: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Knussen at CBSO Centre

With BCMG, there's never any concert so carefully planned, so meticulously and imaginatively put together, that it doesn’t allow room for spontaneity.

Ben Gernon

Review: Winter Dreams, CBSO at Symphony Hall

Tchaikovsky’s first symphony Winter Dreams is no great shakes structurally – but who cares when it teems with delightful tunes and musical felicities?

Violinist Baiba Skride. Picture by Marco Borggreve.

Review: Baiba Skride: Schumann, CBSO at Symphony Hall

If anyone needed converting to Schumann's enigmatic Violin Concerto, this was the performance to do it, with soloist Baibe Skride so persuasive in her advocacy.

CBSO Youth orchestra

Review: CBSO Youth Orchestra at Birmingham Symphony Hall

The CBSO Youth Orchestra played with a maturity of delivery worthy of the mentors who had guided these youngsters through a week of intensive training.

Birmingham Symphony Hall

Review: Brahms German Requiem, CBSO at the Symphony Hall

Brahms would have been perfectly happy to call his biggest choral composition a ‘Human’ Requiem, and what a difference it might have made.

Composer Riccardo Chailly

Review: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig at Symphony Hall

Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires, performed Mozart's last piano concerto, no. 27 in B-flat, with an insight which brought a confiding intimacy to every note she played, even when her fingers were flashing with filigree.

Conductor Nicholas Collon

Review: Dvorak's Sixth, CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall

Good to hear Dvorak's sixth symphony, the equal of his last three in all but fame, especially when performed with such a winning mixture of tender lyricism, rhythmic vigour and bravado.

Ex Cathedra and the CBSO rehearsing at the CBSO Centre.

Review: The Grand Tour, Ex Cathedra at Symphony Hall

Sunday afternoon's sequence was brilliant in its simplicity, a reconstruction of the Grand Tour made by the 18th-century musical historian Charles Burney to investigate the state of music in Europe.

Solo pianist, conductor and composer Ryan Wigglesworth.

Review: Elgar's First by CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall

Ryan Wigglesworth's interpretation of Elgar's First was sensitive to the music's many beauties but sometimes cautiously over-respectful.

British violinist Tasmin Little.

Birmingham's Conservatoire welcomes crop of classical superstars

Birmingham Conservatoire's autumn season has just got under way. Christopher Morley takes a look at some of the glittering visitors heading this way.

In This Week's Paper


Graeme Brown
Editor (Agenda and Business)
Enda Mullen
Business Reporter
Tamlyn Jones
Business Reporter
Neil Elkes
Local Government Correspondent
Emma McKinney
Education Correspondent
Ben Hurst
News Editor
Jonathan Walker
Political Editor