• CBSO rounds off its centenary celebrations with the final six CBSO Centenary Commissions, including works by Brett Dean, Dani Howard, Thomas Larcher and Freya Waley-Cohen
  • A focus on music inspired by the beauty, power and fragility of nature
  • The 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ birth is celebrated with a packed series of concerts showcasing a wide-ranging selection of his works
  • CBSO embarks on a new collaboration with the Orchestral Qawwali Project, directed by composer Rushil Ranjan, and featuring the UK’s first female qawwal Abi Sampa
  • Sir Andrew Davis joins the Orchestra and CBSO Chorus for a performance of Elgar’s Oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, first performed in Birmingham in 1900
  • The award-winning concert tour, the symphonic FINAL FANTASY, makes its first visit to Birmingham for a 10th Anniversary concert, as the CBSO present its first concert of music from classical video games
  • A new cohort of CBSO Youth Ambassadors will be offered the opportunity to create musical experiences with the Orchestra
  • Guest artists include Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti,Benjamin GrosvenorSheku Kanneh-MasonIsata Kanneh-Mason, Simon Höfele, Roderick Cox, Alpesh Chauhan, Jörg Widmann, Roderick Williams and Vilde Frang
  • CBSO’s commitment to take music outside Symphony Hall and make it engaging and accessible to the people of Birmingham is reinforced this season through a range of activities for older people and care settings

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is delighted to announce its 2022-23 Season at Symphony Hall, Birmingham – its first full Season in over two years. The new Season will explore important themes and celebrate new music, including performances of the remaining CBSO Centenary Commissions. There will be a showcase of the CBSO’s own musicians as soloists, a host of world-class guest soloists and conductors, and a celebration of the genius of Vaughan Williams, 150 years after his birth. And, as always, the Orchestra continues its mission to reach new audiences across the West Midlands and beyond, with new projects including an Orchestral Qawwali collaboration and the Orchestra’s first ever video games concert. Kazuki Yamada and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla continue their journeys with the CBSO as joint Principal Guest Conductors, before the CBSO officially welcomes Kazuki Yamada as its Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor in April 2023.

Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive said ‘I am delighted to be able to announce our first full concert Season in over two years: a Season filled with hope and excitement, debuts and reunions, and – most importantly –wonderful music for all ages and tastes. This Season sees us exploring a variety of important themes, throwing the spotlight on some of our own incredible musicians as soloists, showcasing new music a celebration of the genius of Vaughan Williams at 150 and much, much more.’

Nature and Regeneration

The Season sees the CBSO explore the fascination that many composers have with the world around us, drawing together music old and new in programmes inspired by the beauty, power and fragility of nature – and human nature. Works exploring the theme of nature and regeneration include great pillars from the orchestral tradition such as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Debussy’s La mer, Holst’s The Planets, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Violinist Pekka Kuusisto pushes the boundaries and embraces spontaneity, with a programme filled with the sound of birds, including works by Sibelius, Tarrodi, Rautavaara and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Reaffirming the Orchestra’s longstanding commitment to developing the future of orchestral music, the CBSO explores the new with a number of UK Premieres, including Thomas Larcher’s depiction of Austrian mountain peaks, A Line Above the Sky. Guest conductor Nicholas Collon conducts two colossal choruses in a CBSO Centenary Commission, In This Brief Moment – an ‘evolution cantata’ by Brett Dean for double chorus and orchestra inspired by Darwin. The orchestra also presents a rare live performance of Vaughan Williams’ Scott of the Antarctic.


In his fifth season as Principal Guest Conductor, Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor-designate Kazuki Yamada opens the 22-23 Season with a concert celebrating the music of Dvořák, together with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto performed by Nicola Benedetti. Further highlights of Yamada’s season include: Holst’s The Planets; Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with no fewer than three Birmingham choirsRimsky-Korsakov’s beautiful and magical Scheherazade; Rachmaninoff’s rapturous and romantic Second Symphony; and Elgar’s First Symphony. Kazuki Yamada says: ‘I am so happy and honoured to be continuing my journey with the CBSO as their new Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor. We have had many special moments together already and I am looking forward to this very special season so much, which is full of excitement and creativity.’

Mirga Gražinytė-TylaMirga returns for her seventh Season with the CBSO and leads the orchestra in six concerts, including Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Debussy’s La mer, Elgar’s Violin Concerto with Vilde Frang & Schumann’s playful First Symphony. Further highlights include Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Mahler’s Tenth Symphony.

Vaughan Williams at 150

The CBSO is proud of its long-standing championing of great British composers, and this year it marks the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ birth with a celebratory series of concerts celebrating a wide-ranging selection of his works. Presenting Vaughan Williams the explorer, the CBSO and conductor Martyn Brabbins together with soprano Katie Trethewey and the CBSO Youth Chorus, play the score live for a rare showing of the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic. The CBSO Chorus perform in four concerts throughout the Season and join the celebrations, performing Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with baritone Roderick Williams and conductor Michael Seal. The CBSO also welcomes the City of Birmingham Choir and conductor Adrian Lucas for a Centenary programme featuring Vaughan Williams’ much-loved choral work, A Sea Symphony.

Beyond the Classics

In addition to the old, the CBSO welcomes the new with concert programmes designed to inspire new audiences and people who may never have seen a full orchestra before. This strand of programming is complimented by the CBSO’s ‘Starter for £10’ ticket scheme whereby those who have not previously attended a CBSO concert can see the orchestra perform for just £10. The CBSO also continues to offer its hugely popular £5 tickets for students and £10 for those aged 18-30. The Orchestral Qawwali Project has captivated audiences through its unique combination of Sufi poetry, Indian Classical dance and orchestral arrangements. With arrangements by composer Rushil Ranjan, the Project features the soaring vocals of Abi Sampa, the UK’s first female qawwal, combining effortlessly with rich orchestral arrangements and the dynamic grace of Amrit Dhuffer‘s table. For the first time, conductor Ben Parry and pianist Mischa Cheung join the CBSO to offer a new kind of orchestral concert experience exploring the music of video games. The award-winning concert tour, the Final Symphony: Music from FINAL FANTASY, makes its first visit to Birmingham for a 10th Anniversary concert. This Season, the CBSO joins forces with favourite vocalists to present three West End collaborations: top West End vocalists Alice Fearn and David Thaxton for A Swinging Christmas with the CBSO – a seasonal treat suitable for all the family; vocalists from the West End hit musical We Will Rock You for a night of Queen’s greatest hits, Queen Symphonic: A Rock Orchestra Experience (BSL Interpreted Performance);and the CBSO’s Best of the West End (BSL Interpreted Performance)an unmissable collection of showstoppers from some of the world’s favourite musicals, old and new, with conductor Michael England and vocalists Sophie Evans and Scott Davies. The CBSO’s much-loved singalong returns to provide the chance for people of all ages and abilities to perform Mozart’s Requiem from scratch with the orchestra, under the CBSO’s world-famous Chorus Director Simon Halsey, who marks his 40th anniversary with the CBSO Chorus this year. Michael Seal and vocalists Lance Ellington and Anna-Jane Casey bring glitz and glamour to Symphony Hall with Licence to Thrill: The Very Best of Bond, to celebrate Britain’s best-loved secret agent and the soundtracks that have accompanied his heroic swagger for six decades, including the finest Bond themes and songs from Diamonds are ForeverA View to a KillSkyfallGoldfinger and more.


Continuing the CBSO’s commitment to championing the music of living composers, the Orchestra completes its most ambitious commissioning programme to date with its series of CBSO Centenary Commissions – 40 commissions (20 from established composers and 20 encores from composers under the age of 30)were to be given their world or UK premieres throughout the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. The CBSO committed to a 50:50 gender split across these Centenary Commissions. The 2022-23 season includes the World Premieres of Brett Dean’s In This Brief Moment and 20 short works for orchestra (Sounds New), the UK premiere of Thomas Larcher’s Third Symphony, as well as the world premieres of works by Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir, Freya Waley-Cohen and Dani Howard.

Guest artists: Internationally renowned artists making their CBSO debuts this season include trumpeter Simon Höfele, conductor Roderick Cox, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, and conductor and violinist Julian Rachlin. CBSO musicians taking the spotlight as soloists include CBSO leader Eugene Tzikindelean, clarinettist Oliver Janes, horn section leader Elspeth Dutch and flautist Marie-Christine Zupancic. Returning guest soloists and conductors include Nicola BenedettiSheku Kanneh-MasonSir Andrew Davis (who makes his first visit to the CBSO for several decades), Alison BalsomRoderick WilliamsVilde Frang and Benjamin Grosvenor

Accessible concerts

The CBSO continues to take music outside of the concert hall to the people of Birmingham, making its performances as accessible as possible. This includes the successful Symphonic Sessions run in partnership with Hockley Social Club. The range of activities for older people and those in care settings includes Cuppa Concerts, a series of relaxed, small-ensemble concerts. The CBSO is passionate about bringing music to audiences of all ages; the 2022-23 Season features over 30 concerts for children and young people, including a series of Family Concerts designed to bring music alive to audiences young and old and inspire the next generation of musicians and audiences. Entertaining and informal, the CBSO Family Concerts are suitable for ages 5-11, and include a A Winter Party conducted by Michael SealFilm Favourites conducted by Delyana Lazarova; and three Notelets mini-concerts, giving toddlers the chance to express themselves through singing and dancing inspired by travelling across the globe, percussion and the magic of Christmas!

BBC Radio 3 in Concert

The CBSO’s long-standing association with BBC Radio 3 continues throughout the 2022-23 season, with selected concerts being broadcast on Radio 3 in Concert.Further details to be announced.

Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands

The CBSO is proud to continue its partnership with Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station, as its Orchestra in the Midlands. Classic FM recommends a series of concerts throughout the season, including the opening concert of the Season A New World: Kazuki Yamada and Nicola Benedetti, Vaughan Williams at 150: Mystical Songs, Classic FM Hall of Fame 2023 and present twelve concerts in partnership with the orchestra.

Centre Stage, concerts at CBSO

CentreCentre Stage concerts at the CBSO Centre present an opportunity to see CBSO musicians in an informal setting across 16 concerts, featuring works ranging from baroque to the 21st century with links to the main CBSO programme. The concerts are programmed by the CBSO musicians themselves and the 2022-23 series includes performances from the CBSO Cellos, CBSO Wind Octet, CBSO Folk Fusion, and the Baroque Ensemble, as well as appearances from guest musicians. The CBSO’s chamber music programme is generously supported by John Osborn CBE.

Full season details can be found at www.cbso.co.uk