Arts Council England
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CBSO celebrate 100 years of music

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) celebrated their 100th birthday this month – with an evening of live online performances.

A cellist plays in front a grey backdrop

(c) CBSO

On 5 September 1920, the CBSO gave its very first concert - in unprecedented times and in a city recovering from war and pandemic. Exactly 100 years later, and in the grip of another pandemic, the CBSO marked its centenary with an online celebration for audiences to enjoy all over the world.

Hosted by Birmingham’s own Adrian Lester and conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, remote audiences were taken through a century of adventure with filmed live performances, interviews with the CBSO’s conductors past and present, and music by Elgar, Stravinsky, Hannah Kendall and A.R. Rahman. With guest appearances from Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Roopa Panesar – the evening toasted the orchestra, which is based at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

A group of conductors and musicians dressed in black and white, smiling

(c) CBSO

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director for Arts Council England, said:

“CBSO has an outstanding national and international reputation, giving hundreds of concerts each year around the world, playing everything from classics to contemporary, film music and even symphonic disco - and we’re delighted to be wishing them a very happy 100th birthday.

“Taking part in arts and cultural activities whether in person or online fires imagination, self-expression and creativity – and no matter what language you speak, your age, background or where you are in the world, music has the power to bring us together.”

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