Day 171 - A World Famous Orchestra - in Birmingham?

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra celebrated its centenary yesterday with an extraordinary concert in a production warehouse. It is now regarded as one of Europe's premier orchestras - how did it get there apart of course from wonderful orchestral playing? The answer is conductors and brilliant musical entrepreneurism by two CEOs - Ed Smith and Stephen Maddock. in 1980 Smith appointed an unheard of young conductor, Simon Rattle, and the rest is history. Rattle galvanised not just the orchestra, but the city, and the result was the regeneration of the centre of Birmingham around the new Symphony Hall which opened in 1990. Succeeding Rattle was Sakari Oramo, now Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Stephen Maddock's first masterstroke was to lure Andris Nelsons to CBSO. Nelsons is now one of the worlds top 3 conductors, leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester. Nelsons was succeded by the charismatic and brilliant Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla who is forging a startling career in the forefront of the new generation of women conductors. The result is an orchestra in demand over the world, and a reputation for Birmingham for the effective use of culture for urban regeneration

SImon Rattle conducts Mahler's Second Symphony click here

Mirga at the Proms click here

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