After 23 years at the helm, Stephen Maddock today announces that he will step down as Chief Executive of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) at the end of April 2023, to become Principal at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Stephen Maddock OBE says: ‘It has been an immense privilege to lead such a wonderful organisation for more than two decades.  I am very proud of everything that the CBSO family has achieved during this time and will watch with interest as they continue to develop and inspire people with great music in the coming years.

I am hugely excited by my new role at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – like the CBSO, this is an outstanding Birmingham institution with a global reach, and like CBSO it has superb facilities in which to create and listen to music. I look forward to leading RBC on the next stage of its development, as it continues to open up world-class musical training to the broadest possible range of students’.

David Burbidge CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, says: ‘We have an enormous debt to Stephen for his outstanding leadership of the CBSO over many years and we are sorry to lose him. During his time at the CBSO, the orchestra has enhanced its position as being among the very best in the world. This was seen on our recent highly successful two-week tour of the US where we witnessed standing ovations by full houses at famous concert halls including Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall in New York. The orchestra are at the top of their game and are great ambassadors for our city and country.

We are now starting an international search for a worthy successor to Stephen. Whilst I had been planning to retire from the Board at the end of this year, I will now stay on as Chairman for an extra year to ensure that the transition is successfully achieved. We will continue to build on the very successful foundations that Stephen has laid.’

Stephen Maddock joined the CBSO as Chief Executive in October 1999, following 7 years as Administrator of the BBC Proms. 

During his 23 years in post, the CBSO has won consistent acclaim for its work with Music Directors Sakari Oramo, Andris Nelsons and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and Principal Guest Conductors Edward Gardner and Kazuki Yamada (who becomes Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor in April 2023).  In this period, the CBSO and its choruses have undertaken 77 tours to 34 countries in 4 continents, most recently a US tour last month which ended in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, New York.  The Orchestra has recorded more than 70 CDs across almost every major label (and won the Gramophone Recording of the Year award twice), and hundreds of CBSO concerts have been shared on radio, TV and online. It has given World or UK Premieres of more than 160 new works, appeared every year at the BBC Proms and its work has been recognised on multiple occasions at the RPS Music Awards, Gramophone Awards, Sky South Bank Awards and with other international prizes.

Over the last two decades the CBSO has significantly diversified its concert series, repertoire, and audience appeal with an inclusive offer that now encompasses everything from film scores, west end shows, pop and rock’s greatest hits, sessions in social clubs, free pop-up performances at New Street Station and concerts for pre-school children and those living with dementia. In another first, this summer saw the orchestra perform to a TV audience of 1 billion people at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, while the CBSO’s commitment to building the audiences of the future includes a generous ticket scheme for students and under-30s, and an annual cohort of Youth Ambassadors.

The CBSO family has continued to grow in this period, with the addition of the CBSO Youth Orchestra (from 2004), SO Vocal (its free community choir, 2012), and many other initiatives to encourage music participation among local people of all ages. Next year the new Shireland CBSO Academy will open in Sandwell, the first music specialist school of its kind in the world to be designed in partnership with a major orchestra.  The CBSO has also enhanced its reputation for identifying and encouraging young talent, with a host of ex-CBSO musicians, staff and conductors now enjoying outstanding careers around the world.

Stephen has served on a range of local and national boards including Culture Central, Marketing Birmingham, the Association of British Orchestras and the Henry Barber Trust.  A frequent broadcaster, he has been half of the Midlands team on BBC Radio 4’s longest-running quiz show, Round Britain Quiz, since 2003.  He was awarded an OBE for Services to Music, particularly in the West Midlands, in The Queen’s New Year Honours 2017.

Following Arts Council England’s announcement on Friday 4 November, the Orchestra are pleased to be continuing as a National Portfolio Organisation for the 2023-26 period.