The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is the flagship of musical life in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and one of the world’s great orchestras. Based in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the orchestra normally performs more than 150 concerts each year around the world. With a far-reaching community program and a family of choruses and ensembles, it is involved in every aspect of music-making in the Midlands. But at its center is a team of ninety professional musicians, and a 100-year tradition of making the world’s greatest music in the heart of Birmingham.

That local tradition started with the orchestra’s very first symphonic concert in 1920—conducted by Edward Elgar. Ever since then, through war, recessions, social change, and civic renewal, the CBSO has been proud to be Birmingham’s orchestra. Under principal conductors including Adrian Boult, George Weldon, Andrzej Panufnik, and Louis Frémaux, the CBSO won an artistic reputation that spread far beyond its region. But it was when it discovered the young British conductor Simon Rattle in 1980 that the CBSO became internationally famous—and showed how the arts can help give a new sense of direction to a whole city.

Mr. Rattle’s successors Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons helped cement that global reputation and continued to build on the CBSO’s tradition of flying the flag for Birmingham. And under the dynamic leadership of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the CBSO continued to do what it does best—playing great music for the people of Birmingham, the Midlands, and beyond. In September of last year, the Orchestra announced that Japanese conductor Kazuki Yamada, who has been the Orchestra’s principal guest conductor since 2018, had been appointed as its chief conductor and artistic advisor with effect from April 2023.


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