Highlights:

  • Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla [pictured] conducts nine performances in her final season as Music Director whilst Principal Guest Conductor and Chief Conductor & Artistic Advisor designate Kazuki Yamada returns for four concerts
  • Canadian-American composer Robert Nathaniel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses is given its UK premiere alongside Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s long-lost Solemn Prelude and Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in D minor performed by CBSO debut soloist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason
  • CBSO Youth Ambassadors to devise, programme and curate an immersive concert with the full Orchestra at Symphony Hall
  • The Orchestra continues in its mission to enrich lives in schools and communities, nurture young musical talent and welcome the next generation of concertgoers through its Schools’ and Family Concerts, community choir SO Vocal and a new one-hour-long ‘Rush Hour Concert’
  • Other CBSO debuts from Clare Hammond, Daishin Kashimoto, Sunwook Kim, Delyana Lazarova, Fatma Said and Mahan Esfahani alongside return visits for Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Paul Lewis, Ryan Bancroft and Gabriela Montero
  • Premieres of three CBSO Centenary Commissions: Bent Sørensen’sSei anime, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Catamorphosis and Roxanna Panufnik’s Five Polish Folk Songs
  • Friday Night Classics series pays tribute to ABBA, soul and film music and musical theatre giants Stephen Sondheim and Rodgers & Hammerstein
  • Performances continue to reach beyond Birmingham through broadcasts on Classic FM, BBC Radio 3 and Marquee TV and two European tours as well as other UK concerts

A host of star soloists and world-leading conductors will take to the stage at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall to perform with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from January – July 2022.

After kicking off the New Year in style with a glittering selection of Viennese waltzes, polkas, marches and arias performed under the baton of Eduardo Strausser on 7 January, the Orchestra’s Spring/Summer Season frames the symphonic blockbusters of Mahler, Brahms and Berlioz with the lesser-known works of Robert Nathaniel Dett and Florence Price, and sees internationally renowned soloists and young emerging talent perform with the 90-strong symphony orchestra.Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla also conducts her final concerts as CBSO Music Director and the Orchestra welcomes back Kazuki Yamada, its Principal Guest Conductor and Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor designate.

Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the CBSO said “It is with genuine excitement and delight that we share the full details of our forthcoming programme of concerts with you from January 2022 all the way through to July. This really will be a very special series of performances with mixed emotions as Mirga conducts her final concerts before moving to the role of Principal Guest Conductor and we welcome back Kazuki Yamada, our Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor designate. They will be in illustrious company, as we are hugely fortunate to also be joined in the coming months by a host of wonderful soloists and conductors.”

From hidden musical gems to orchestral blockbusters

Shining a light on rarely performed works, the CBSO gives the first UK performance of Canadian-American composer Robert Nathaniel Dett’s oratorio The Ordering of Moses performed by the CBSO Chorus and soloists including Chrystal E WilliamsRodrick Dixon and Eric Greene (23 February). 125 years since crowds gathered to hear the first performance of Charles Villiers Stanford’s Requiem – commissioned by the legendary Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, which went on to premiere Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius just three years later – the CBSO joins forces with the University of Birmingham Voices to bring this forgotten choral work back home to Birmingham (2 July). The Orchestra will also perform a new reconstruction of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Solemn Prelude conducted by Ryan Bancroft, and three CBSO Centenary Commissions – part of the Orchestra’s most ambitious commissioning programme to date – also receive their premieres: Danish composer Bent Sørensen’s Sei anime for harpsichord and orchestra (28 April, UK Premiere), Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Catamorphosi– shortlisted in the Large Scale Composition category of the 2021 The Ivors Composer Awards – (15 June, UK Premiere) and Roxanna Panufnik’s reorchestrations of Five Polish Folk Songs originally arranged by her father, former CBSO Chief Conductor Sir Andrzej Panufnik, will be performed by the CBSO Children’s Chorus and CBSO Youth Chorus (25 June, World Premiere).

The CBSO also invites audiences to experience the full aural splendour of well-known symphonic blockbusters in Symphony Hall including Sibelius’ Symphonies No. 1 & 2, Mahler’s Symphonies No. 2, 4 and 5, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 4 and 5 alongside other CBSO favourites including Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919) and Pulcinella Suite, Bernstein’s West Side Story: Symphonic Dances and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. The CBSO Chorus will give its first ever performance of Handel’s Messiah under the baton of Baroque specialist Richard Egarr with soloists Mary BevanReginald MobleyJames Gilchrist and Christopher Purves (8 June) prior to which it performs an Opera Gala conducted by Matthew Kofi Waldren with guest soloists Nadine BenjaminHeather LoweThomas Atkins and Nicholas Lester (29 April). Percussionists from the Orchestra will also collaborate with Birmingham-based Keneish Dance Company to perform David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus. Fifty years since it was written, Jeffrey Skidmore leads Ex Cathedra and CBSO’s community choir SO Vocal through the genre-bending piece which fuses western choral music with the musical traditions of East Africa (16 January). SO Vocal will also return to Symphony Hall for a special concert to mark its 10th anniversary (17 July).

Star Soloists

Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja returns to Birmingham twice this Season performing Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto (2 & 3 March) and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (15 & 16 June) with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla whilst other returning guest artists include cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, 16 March), and pianists Gabriela Montero (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1, 11 & 12 May) and Paul Lewis (Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 K.595, 21 & 23 April). Soprano Lucy Crowe will also return to Symphony Hall to perform Strauss’ Four Last Songs as part of the CBSO Benevolent Fund Concert (4 February).

Soloists performing for the first time with the orchestra include German-Korean violinist Clara-Jumi Kang (Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, 13 January), Egyptian soprano Fatma Said (Mozart arias and Mahler’s Symphony No.4 (19 & 20 January), Iranian-American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani performing the UK premiere of Bent Sørensen’s CBSO Centenary CommissionSei animefor harpsichord and orchestra alongside CPE Bach (28 April ), Swedish virtuoso Daniel Lozakovich (Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, 2 February), South Korean pianist Sunwook Kim (Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, 17 February), British pianists Jeneba Kanneh-Mason (Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in D minor, 27 February) and Clare Hammond (Grieg Piano Concerto, 9 March), and first Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Daishin Kashimoto (Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, 4 May).

World-leading Conductors

In September the CBSO announced that Kazuki Yamada would take up his new position as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor from April 2023.  Between now and then he continues in his role as Principal Guest Conductor with performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (19 & 20 January) and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (4 May). In her final season as Music Director before moving to the role of Principal Guest Conductor, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla leads the Orchestra through nine performances including Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s two concerts featuring Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Romeo and Juliet (2 & 3 March) and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 alongside a new commission from Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir (15 & 16 June). She also conducts Weinberg’s Symphonies No. 3 and 4 alongside Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2 with Sheku Kanneh-Mason (16 March), Bruckner’s Symphony No.6, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 joined by soloist Gabriela Montero (11 & 12 May), and ends the Season with Mahler’s mighty Resurrection Symphony with soprano Janai Brugger, mezzo soprano Karen Cargill and the CBSO Chorus (22 & 25 June).

Returning to the Symphony Hall podium Ryan Bancroft leads a performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Mendelssohn & Sibelius (13 January), and Joshua Weilerstein brings the music of Florence Price, Robert Nathaniel DettKorngold, Sibelius, Ives, Bernstein & Tchaikovsky(23 & 27 February). Other conductors making welcome returns include Fabien Gabel (2 & 4 February), Ludovic Morlot (28 April), Christoph Koenig (21 & 23 April), Richard Egarr (8 June), Martyn Brabbins (2 July) and CBSO Associate Conductor Michael Seal (9 February, 25 February & 9 March)whilst Lionel Bringuier (17 February), Delyana Lazarova (20 February) and Matthew Kofi Waldren (29 April) make their CBSO debuts.

Friday Night Classics, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games & The Queen’s Jubilee

The hugely popular Friday Night Classics Series also returns in 2022 with the CBSO’s musicians showcasing their versatility in performing orchestral music from a variety of genres including tributes to three of musical theatre’s greats led by conductor Martin Yates. To begin, the CBSO will team up with West End vocalists to present a symphonic tribute to the greatest living Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim (14 January), whilst a celebration of one of the most famous partnerships in American Musical Theatre history – Rodgers and Hammerstein – will feature performances from hit musicals Oklahoma, South PacificThe Sound of Music and more (10 June). 100 Years of Movie Magic will bring to life scores from Star WarsVertigoThe Lord of the RingsTitanic and more (25 February) and ABBA: Thank You For The Music will see the CBSO present a symphonic tribute to the Swedish pop group’s greatest hits (28 January). Guy Barker will also lead the Orchestra, Strictly Come Dancing singing star Tommy Blaize and vocalist Vanessa Haynes on a musical journey through the history of soul music (27 May).

After recording the national anthems for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and performing in The Queen’s Baton Relay, the Orchestra will mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a special concert featuring a selection of works from throughout her 70-year reign (2 June).

Working with Young People

The CBSO continues its commitment to celebrate and nurture the talents of young musicians. The CBSO Youth Orchestra – one of Europe’s leading Youth Orchestras comprising 100 outstanding young musicians – conducted by Joshua Weilerstein will perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and join pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason in Florence Price’s Piano Concerto (27 February) whilst the CBSO Youth Chorus performsDebussy’s Sirènes(17 February)and joins the CBSO Children’s Chorus for theworld premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s CBSO Centenary Commission Five Polish Folk Songs (25 June). As part of the Orchestra’s mission to empower young people and to ensure that classical music is relevant and exciting for a new generation, the CBSO’s second cohort of 10 dynamic Youth Ambassadors aged 16-21 will also curate, programme and promote their very own concert, conducted by CBSO Youth Orchestra Alumnus Ben Gernon (12 March). Aimed at young people who want to share their curiosity and love of live orchestral music, the one-year volunteer programme was founded to mark the CBSO’s centenary in 2020.

The CBSO also remains committed to supporting and developing the musical education of children and young people throughout the West Midlands, and over this period expects to welcome well over 10,000 young people to 25 concerts for young people. The Orchestra will offer free tickets for every Year 7 child in Birmingham state schools to attend one of its Schools’ Concerts – created to complement the musical offer from teachers and music services – which return with a journey through the natural world specifically designed for students in KS2 and KS3 led by conductor Michael Seal and presenter Tom Redmond at Symphony Hall (7, 8 & 9 February). KS1 children will join Charlotte and Bryony’s Space Orchestra as they embark on an out-of-this-world adventure at CBSO Centre (11 & 14 February). Relaxed performances – available via live stream and free for Birmingham Special Schools – will enable audiences to join a 10-piece mini orchestra and presenter Jane Wright for a musical journey through The Wind in the Willows (18 February) and a Family Concert exploring myths and legends (20 February) will be immediately followed a performance on the Symphony Hall stage from young musicians taking part in Project Remix, the CBSO’s flagship training orchestra.

Notelets – specially created concerts designed to open up the world of classical to under-5s and adults alike – also return with a series of lively, toddler-friendly introductions to classical music that combines music with storytelling in the intimate surroundings of CBSO Centre (11 & 12 March and 1 & 2 July). Free craft activities will take place an hour before each performance. All Schools’, Relaxed and Notelets concerts are BSL interpreted.

Rush Hour Concert, CBSO musicians’ Centre Stage programme & CBSO+ free pre-concert events

The first CBSO Rush Hour Concert in more than a decade will feature an hour-long programme, without interval, to provide an opportunity for audiences to decompress after the working day. This will take place on 9 February, conducted by Michael Seal.

A series of short and informal concerts programmed and introduced by the CBSO’s musicians, the Osborn Chamber Music Programme Centre Stage offers the opportunity for audiences to get closer to the Orchestra’s musicians in a relaxed setting. Highlights of the January – July Season include El Ultimo Tango performing Piazzolla and their own take on Bach’s Goldberg Variations, whilst the Orchestra’s wind sections perform the music of Poulenc, Krommer, Gipps and Mozart. String musicians will present programmes ranging from traditional Scottish, Hungarian and Moldovan folk tunes to the music of Korngold, Schubert and Fanny Mendelssohn.

CBSO+ free pre-concert events will also continue in the front of house areas of Symphony Hall making concerts a whole-evening experience. Events include free pre-concert talks and Q&As with conductors and soloists, and pre-concert performances by talented musicians from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

CBSO Out and About and On Tour

As the CBSO enters its second century, it continues in its mission to use the power of music to connect with communities and inspire participation across the Midlands, the UK and the world.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2022, the Orchestra will continue its residency programme in three West Midlands special schools and will be delivering a creative project with 8 primary schools, exploring the themes of myths and legends through music. It will also continue to offer Musical Storytimes for Reception pupils, ensemble visits and hybrid concerts to primary schools and its project inspired by the Commonwealth Games Motto Share the Dream will conclude in June with a pre-concert performance by hundreds of children at Symphony Hall. Special concerts for people living with dementia will resume in Spring 2022, along with performances and workshops in care settings.  

In March, the Orchestra will tour to Germany with Sheku Kanneh-Mason (with performances at Alte Oper, Frankfurt 19 March, Domed Hall, Hannover 20 March, Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg 21 March and Konzerthaus, Dortmund 27 March) and to France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and Austria with Patricia Kopatchinskaja (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris 22 March, Philharmonie, Luxembourg 23 March, Queen Elisabeth, Antwerp 25 March, and Konzerthaus Dortmund 26 March and Wiener Musikverein, Austria 1 April). The tour will end with a three-concert residency at Vienna’s legendary Musikverein, to include two performances of Brahms’ Requiem as well as music by Weinberg and will also perform of programme of Weinberg (Brucknerhaus 31 March) and Brahms’ A German Requiem (Wiener Musikverein 1, 3 and 4 April) in Austria.

The CBSO is proud to continue its partnership with Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station, as its Orchestra in the MidlandsClassic FM recommends a series of concerts throughout the season (13 January, 2 March, 21 April, 4 May) including the performances of Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s Solemn Prelude, Paul Lewis performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 and a concert led by the orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor designate Kazuki Yamada. The CBSO’s long-standing association with BBC Radio 3 also continues with selected concerts broadcast on Radio 3 in Concert. The CBSO is delighted to continue its ongoing partnership with Marquee TV, building on the Orchestra’s work throughout the pandemic to connect digitally with music-lovers worldwide and enabling global audiences to experience the CBSO.

Tickets

The CBSO is committed to ensuring that the widest possible audiences can enjoy the Orchestra’s music and the implementation of a more generous discounting scheme for those booking upwards of two Season concerts at the same time, means that the more concerts booked, the more you save.
The Orchestra’s £10 tickets for those aged 18-30 have proved to be a big hit so far this Season, with three times the number of tickets being sold to this age group compared to performances in the 19-20 Season. The take up for the Orchestra’s £5 Student Ticket Scheme has also been good, with almost twice as many students now attending each performance compared to the last pre-covid Season. In addition to these, free tickets for NHS workers are also still available and the Orchestra’s Mystery Seats scheme continues this Season, offering tickets in a surprise location priced at just £13 each

For full listings visit the CBSO website.

Watch a trailer for the season here.

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