Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Symphony Hall is a 2,262 seat concert venue in Birmingham, England. It was officially opened by the Queen on 12 June 1991,[1] although it had been in use since 15 April 1991. It is home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and hosts around 270 events a year. It was completed at a cost of £30 million.[2] The hall's interior is modelled on the Musikverein in Vienna and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.[3] The venue, managed alongside Town Hall, presents a programme of jazz, world, folk, rock, pop and classical concerts, organ recitals, spoken word, dance, comedy, educational and community performances, and is also used for conferences and business events as part of the International Convention Centre.

In 2016 the Concert Hall Acoustics expert Leo Beranek ranked Symphony Hall as having the finest acoustics in the United Kingdom, and the seventh best in the world.[4]

Symphony Hall
Symphony-Hall-Birmingham-from-Upper Circle
Symphony Hall platform, organ and movable acoustic canopy
LocationBroad Street,
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Coordinates52°28′43″N 1°54′38″W / 52.47861°N 1.91056°WCoordinates: 52°28′43″N 1°54′38″W / 52.47861°N 1.91056°W
OwnerPerformances Birmingham Limited
TypeConcert hall
Construction cost£30 million
ArchitectPercy Thomas Partnership
Renton Howard Wood Levin


Symphony Hall, Birmingham - - 1034924
Exterior of the Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall, widely considered one of the finest in the world, was designed by Percy Thomas Partnership and Renton Howard Wood Levin, (who together formed the Convention Centre Partnership for the ICC) with specialist help from Russell Johnson, founder of acoustic consultants Artec. A particularly innovative feature is the hall's acoustic flexibility. It has a reverberation chamber behind the stage and extending high along the sides, adding 50% to the hall's volume, the doors to which can be remotely opened or closed. The U-shaped reverberation chamber area has a volume of 12,700 cubic metres (450,000 cu ft).[1] There is an acoustic canopy which can be raised or lowered above the stage. Dampening panels can be extended or retracted to ensure that the 'sound' of the space is perfectly matched to the scale and style of the music to be performed.[5] There are also reverse fan walls at the rear of the hall which provide further reflections of sound. All the walls and the ceiling are 200 millimetres (8 in) thick and are made of concrete.[1]

The hall is built only 30 metres (100 ft) from a covered railway line. To prevent the transmission of vibrations, the hall is mounted on rubber cushions, as is the railway track. The hall is also shielded from heavy traffic on Broad Street by double skins of concrete. Large, low-speed air ducting cuts the ventilation noise.[5]

In 2001, a 6000-pipe symphony organ was installed, designed and built by Johannes Klais Orgelbau in Bonn and specially tailored to the hall's reverberation chambers. This is now the largest mechanical action organ in the UK.[6]

Through its management company Performances Birmingham Limited, Symphony Hall alongside Town Hall has charitable status and through an Education/Community department carries out a number of projects for schools, community groups and families, working with around 12,000 young people and 6,000 adults each year.[7]

Symphony Hall Interior

See also


  1. ^ a b c Taylor, Charles Alfred (1992). "Reflections, Reverberations, and Recitals". Exploring Music: The Science and Technology of Tones and Tunes. CRC Press. pp. 232–4. ISBN 0-7503-0213-5.
  2. ^ John Tribe (1999). The Economics of Leisure and Tourism. Elsevier. ISBN 0-7506-4232-7.
  3. ^ Sallie Westwood; John M. Williams (1997). Imagining Cities: Scripts, Signs, Memory. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-14429-9.
  4. ^ Lubin, Gus (2016-10-05). "The 10 best-sounding concert halls in the world". Business Insider. Business Insider Inc. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  5. ^ a b Alec Nisbett (2003). The Sound Studio: Audio Techniques for Radio, Television, Film and Recording. Focal Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-240-51911-6.
  6. ^ "The Symphony Organ". Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Archived from the original on 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  7. ^ Performances Birmingham – charitable managing organisation Archived 2008-03-31 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Birmingham City Organist

Birmingham City Organist is an appointment made by the City of Birmingham. The purpose of the appointment is to have an organist for civic occasions and who will provide a series of free public organ recitals.

Birmingham Town Hall is the traditional home of the City Organist, and it was under one of the earliest City Organists, James Stimpson, that the popular weekly recitals began. So popular were the recitals that audiences of around 1,500 packed in every Monday evening in the 1840s.

The weekly recitals, now held on Monday at lunch time, have continued to the present day. With the re-opening of a renovated and rejuvenated Town Hall in October 2007 some concerts returned to their home in Town Hall, Birmingham with others performed at Symphony Hall, Birmingham on the Klais Orgelbau organ.

CBSO Youth Orchestra

The CBSO Youth Orchestra in Birmingham, England is an amateur symphony orchestra for young people managed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). The orchestra is based at CBSO Centre but performs at Symphony Hall, Birmingham; membership is drawn from the entire Midlands region.

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is a British orchestra based in Birmingham, England. It is the resident orchestra at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, which has been its principal performance venue since 1991. Its administrative and rehearsal base is at the nearby CBSO Centre, where it also presents chamber concerts by members of the orchestra and guest performers.Each year the orchestra performs more than 130 concerts to audiences totalling over 200,000 people. Another 72,000 people each year take part in its learning, participation and outreach events, and 750 local musicians are engaged in its six choirs and the CBSO Youth Orchestra.The CBSO's current Music Director is the Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, who took up her initial three year appointment in September 2016 at the age of 29. The CBSO's current chief executive, appointed in 1999, is Stephen Maddock.

David Temple

David Anthony Temple is a British conductor and musical director of Crouch End Festival Chorus and Hertfordshire Chorus. He has conducted at the Barbican Centre, Royal Festival Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Royal Albert Hall, Sage Gateshead, The Roundhouse, Snape Maltings and St Albans Cathedral.

He came to London in 1972 and joined the London Philharmonic Choir where he sang as a tenor under the chorus master John Alldis, performing with conductors including Boult, Stokowski, Solti, Haitink, Tennstedt, Barenboim, Giulini and Rattle. In 1984 he began his work with the newly formed Crouch End Festival Chorus.

As chorus master of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, he worked closely with Ray Davies of The Kinks on his choral work The Flatlands, and collaborated with him on live performances from 2007 until 2011, including a performance of The Village Green Preservation Society at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Crouch End Festival Chorus and Ray Davies plus band. He has also toured the USA with Ray Davies to promote the CD The Kinks Choral Collection.

Temple has worked with many conductors including Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Sallonen, Semyon Bychkov and Edward Gardner, preparing choirs for major performances. With Crouch End Festival Chorus he recorded Bach's St John Passion (in English) for Chandos Records in 2016, due for release in 2017.

Temple has collaborated closely for many years with Ray Davies, Oasis, and more recently, with Noel Gallagher – as well as Goldfrapp, Procol Harum, Travis, Bombay Bicycle Club, Take That, Robbie Williams and Basement Jaxx. He has appeared at the Glastonbury, Latitude and T-in-the-Park music festivals.

Recording work includes music for the BBC's Doctor Who at Air Studios and soundtracks such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, Prince Caspian and The Awakening. Temple has also prepared both of his choirs for concerts with Ennio Morricone, Andrea Bocelli and Hans Zimmer.David Temple was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year's Honours List for services to music.

Hans Abrahamsen

Hans Abrahamsen (born 23 December 1952) is a Danish composer.

Heritage Orchestra

The Heritage Orchestra is a British orchestra founded by Chris Wheeler and Jules Buckley. They perform mainstream, cult, experimental and popular music. The orchestra, which ranges between 25 to 65 members, has performed internationally in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Emirates Palace, and Hollywood Bowl, and tours throughout the UK to major concert halls and large-scale arenas, including The O2 Arena in London

In 2010, The Heritage Orchestra was nominated in the 9th Independent Music Awards and won the Contemporary Classical Album award for their performance of Gabriel Prokofiev's 'Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra' along with DJ Yoda. In 2017 the orchestra reached Number One in the UK Album Charts with BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong and their album Classic House. The orchestra performs regularly at the BBC Proms

Joanne Lunn

Joanne Lunn is an English classical soprano in opera and concert.

Klais Orgelbau

Orgelbau Klais is a German firm that designs, builds and restores pipe organs. It is a family run company, founded in 1882 by Johannes Klais senior and is now run by his great-grandson Philipp Klais. The firm is based in Bonn, Germany, and has completed many large-scale building and restoration projects around the globe in more than a century of organ building.

Leeds Philharmonic Society

Leeds Philharmonic Chorus is a leading choir in Europe, regularly performing to professional standards with internationally renowned soloists, orchestras and conductors.

As well as traditional concerts in Leeds Town Hall, the Chorus has toured and performed in many other prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall (London), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Symphony Hall, Birmingham, The Sage Gateshead, Franz Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest) and St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

Easter 2009 saw the Chorus touring Poland with a varied programme including the Polish première of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man.

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (born Mirga Gražinytė, 2 April 1986) is a Lithuanian conductor. She is currently music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) in England.

Niki Evans

Niki Evans (born 13 December 1972) is an English singer. She finished fourth on the fourth series of The X Factor in 2007. In 2009, she released her debut album By Request. Evans appeared as Mrs Johnstone in the UK national tour of Blood Brothers.

Pogus Caesar

Dr Pogus Caesar is a British photographer, conceptual artist, archivist, author, curator, television producer and director. He was born in St Kitts, West Indies, and grew up in Birmingham, England.

Raymond Froggatt

Raymond William Froggatt (born 13 November 1941) is an English songwriter and singer.Froggatt (otherwise known as "Froggy") was born in Bordesley Green, Birmingham. He began performing rock and roll in the early 1960s before moving on to focus on Country and Western. His band, initially known as the Buccaneers, later Monopoly and ultimately The Raymond Froggatt Band with guitarist Hartley Cain (H Cain) , drummer Len Ablethorpe and whose bassist was Louis Clark of Electric Light Orchestra and Hooked on Classics fame, were signed by Polydor in 1964. However chart success eluded them, although the Dave Clark Five had a No. 7 hit in the UK Singles Chart with Froggatt's "The Red Balloon" in 1968. His own version of the song, under the title "Callow la Vita", reached No. 3 in the Netherlands. Another Froggatt song, "Big Ship", was a No. 8 UK hit for Cliff Richard in 1969.In the 1970s the band was managed by Don Arden, hoping to break into the United States music scene, but the experience led to the collapse of the band. He later became an internationally recognised country music performer, releasing Here's to Everyone (1993) on his Red Balloon record label. Froggatt's autobiography, Raymond Who, followed in 1995.He now lives in Telford, England.


1968 The Voice And Writings Of Raymond Froggatt

1972 Bleach

1974 Rogues And Thieves

1978 Southern Fried Frog

1979 Songs From A Minstral

1980 Stay With Me

1982 Sooner Or Later

1984 Why?

1988 Is It Rollin' Bob

1991 Here's To Everyone

1993 At The London Palladium

1995 Someday

1996 The Collection

1997 Moonshine

1980 Runaway

1998 Southern Fried Frog & Rogues And Thieves

1998 In Concert At The Birmingham Town Hall

1998 There Goes That Song Again

1999 Now And Then

2002 Milestones

2003 Cold As A Landlord's Heart

2003 Coast To Coast

2003 Shantytown

2004 The Voice And Writing Of Raymond Froggatt

2004 Songland 40

2004 Adaos

2004 Just One Night In Concert Symphony Hall Birmingham

2006 Dream Of You

2007 Songwriter

2007 The Lights Of Amsterdam

2010 Songs With Reasons

2010 Warm Days Summer Nights

2011 Blue And Gold

2011 America

2011 Fields Of Rock And Roll

2012 Movin' On

2013 Birmingham Rain

2014 Closer To You

2015 The Classic Collection Vol 2

2018 In Concert (Hunstanton & Birmingham)

Sarah Munro

Sarah Munro is a British singer-songwriter from Hertfordshire. Her debut album Say Hello To You was released on 14 September 2016. Her debut single 'For Eternity' received airplay across BBC Radio 2, in particular from Michael Ball (singer) who described her as, "What a gorgeous voice! I think she's absolutely fabulous - real purity and clarity to her voice".

Stephen Farr

Stephen Farr is a British organist who until 2014 was Director of Music at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He studied with Robert Munns and David Sanger in London and Cambridge. He also received tuition from Piet Kee in Haarlem and Hans Fagius in Copenhagen, and as a student was the recipient of grants from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Worshipful Company of Musicians (W.T. Best Scholarship).His secondary education was at Eltham College, after which, in 1984, he became Organ Scholar of Clare College, Cambridge, where he obtained a double first in Music and a master's degree in Musicology. Sub-organist posts at Christ Church, Oxford and Winchester Cathedral preceded his appointment as Organist and Master of the Choristers of Guildford Cathedral, a post which he held from 1999 until 2007.

Stephen Farr now pursues an active freelance career, teaching in Oxford, directing the professional choir and general musical programme of St Paul's Church Knightsbridge in London, and performing as a soloist and ensemble player in the UK and abroad. He is also the Director of Chapel Music at Worcester College, Oxford. He won the Royal College of Organists Performer of the Year Competition in 1988 and further prizes at the international competitions in Odense, St Albans and Paisley.He maintains a regular broadcast presence, and as a recitalist has featured in the main series of the major venues in the UK – among them St Paul's Cathedral (where he has appeared twice in the Celebrity Series), Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, King's College, Cambridge, St David's Hall Cardiff, St John's, Smith Square, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the Bridgewater Hall, the St David's Festival, and the Fairfield Halls. He has also appeared as a solo recitalist in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Laurenskerk Alkmaar.

His concerto work has included engagements with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and the London Mozart Players; in 2005 he made his debut in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw with the Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed as a concerto soloist in Sydney Opera House with the Australian Baroque Orchestra. He works regularly with leading ensembles including Florilegium, the Bach Choir, BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra, English Concert, London Baroque Soloists, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Wallace Collection, Endymion Ensemble the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Britten Sinfonia, the Academy of Ancient Music and Polyphony.

He has a particular commitment to contemporary music, and has been involved in premieres of works by composers as diverse as Patrick Gowers, Francis Pott, Judith Bingham, Thomas Hyde and Howard Goodall. He also collaborated with Thomas Adès in a recording for EMI of the composer's Under Hamelin Hill. In 2004 he commissioned a new organ symphony from David Briggs, inspired by Maurice Duruflé's setting of the Requiem mass. His recording of this work forms part of an extensive discography as soloist, accompanist and continuo player. In 2011, he planned to give the world premiere performances of 'The Everlasting Crown,' a major new solo work by Judith Bingham at the BBC Proms.

. Farr is an examiner and trustee of the Royal College of Organists.

He has recorded several CDs for labels that include Hyperion Records, Priory Records,Nimbus Records, Virgin.

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall may refer to:

Atlanta Symphony Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States

Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

Symphony Hall, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Newark Symphony Hall, Newark, New Jersey, United States

Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

The Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan

Okayama Symphony Hall, Okayama, Japan

Phoenix Symphony Hall, Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California, United States

Symphony Hall, Springfield, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Symphony Hall (Sirius XM), a classical music satellite radio channel

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra

The Tees Valley Youth Orchestra is the flagship orchestra of Tees Valley Music Service and one of the largest youth orchestras in the UK, which welcomes the best music students across the four boroughs of the Tees Valley (Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool) and indeed from all over the North East of England. The orchestra also draws some members from further afield, such as North Yorkshire, making it the only full sized youth orchestra that meets regularly in the North East of England. Rehearsals take place every Friday night during term time from 6:30 to 9:15 at Teesside High School. The orchestra was originally conducted by David Kendall in the 1980s. David Kendal conducted the orchestra as well as being head of the music service and handed the baton to Christopher Johns on retirement in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, the orchestra was conducted by Chris Johns, who retired in December 2010 after being appointed as Director of Music at Leicester Cathedral. Nicholas Nowicki has conducted the orchestra since January 2011, assisted by tutors who work with the different sections of the orchestra for the first half of four rehearsals per term.

Highlights of the orchestra have included a concert performance of the popular opera Carmen by Bizet, as well as the debut performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's 'Symphony in A minor', which had been lost for many years. TVYO also performed Mu Ara, a piece it commissioned from the popular composer Geoffrey Palmer. In recent years, the orchestra has performed all of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies and in 2009 and 2011-2017 was invited to perform at the National Festival of Music for Youth in Symphony Hall, Birmingham. In 2013, the orchestra gave two memorable performances of Shostakovich's 5th Symphony.

The orchestra often forms a stepping stone for students into a musical career, and many students from the orchestra also play in National Youth ensembles and go on to study music at conservatoires or universities.

The orchestra takes part in a bi-annual tour, and in recent years has visited France, Catalonia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The orchestra will be visiting Granada to play at various music festivals across Spain in July, 2018. The Tees Valley Youth Choir occasionally join the orchestra when on tour abroad, and the two ensembles perform concerts together, often to packed, enthusiastic audiences. A recent highlight of their 2012 tour to the Black Forest was a performance on the Johann Strauss stage in Baden-Baden. In July 2014, TVYO performed as part of the prestigious Florence International Festival of Youth Orchestras.

Thomas Gould (violinist)

Thomas Gould (born 1983) is a British violinist and the leader of Aurora Orchestra and associate leader of Britten Sinfonia. Gould is best known for his playing of the classical music repertoire although he also plays a six-string electric violin and has performed jazz at Ronnie Scott's. He has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Arena, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and National Indoor Arena.

Tony Dudley-Evans

Tony Dudley-Evans is Jazz Adviser to the Jazzlines programme at Town Hall/Symphony Hall Birmingham and Programme Adviser to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

He now sees himself as a jazz promoter, but he was for many years a British linguist and expert in English for Specific Purposes. One of the most influential authors in the development of the modern notion of genre, he is usually grouped together with John Swales and Vijay Bhatia as the driving force behind recent developments in ESP.

Tony Dudley-Evans was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham. Having gained a BA in Arabic (University of London), a PGCE in teaching English as a Foreign Language (University of Wales) and an MA in Applied English Linguistic (University of Birmingham), Tony pursued a career as a researcher and lecturer until his retirement in 2001. Among his best-known books are Developments in English for Specific Purposes, authored with Maggie Jo St John, and The Language of Economics, co-edited with economist Willie Henderson.

Despite the demands of his 'day-job', he was from 1985, chair of Birmingham Jazz, an organisation which promoted up to 100 concerts a year at Symphony Hall, the CBSO Centre, the Adrian Boult Hall, mac, The Drum, the Fiddle and Bone and the Glee Club. In Birmingham alone he has promoted around 1000 jazz events since 1985. A popular promotion is the weekly free Friday evening session, now known as the Jazzlines Free Gigs, held in Symphony Hall Café Bar showcasing emerging and established jazz musicians to regular audiences of hundreds.

In 2012 the work of Birmingham Jazz was transferred to Jazzlines, Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s dynamic programme of live jazz performances and education projects across the city.

Tony became Jazz Adviser and works closely with Jazzlines Programme Manager, Mary Wakelam-Sloan. Jazzlines is now the major jazz promoter in Birmingham and a key national jazz organisation.

As a promoter Tony has commissioned composers including Mike Gibbs, Tim Berne, Julian Joseph, Iain Ballamy, Tom Bancroft, Barbara Thompson, Billy Jenkins, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Liam Noble, Hans Koller, Ingrid Laubrock and many more. He received one of the BBC Jazz Awards in 2005 for services to jazz. He is also an honorary Fellow of the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Tony has been involved with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival since its beginnings 20 years ago, initially as Chair of the Jazz Advisory Group, then as Artistic Director and, finally, for the last three years as Programme Advisor, working closely with Ian George, Director, and firstly Philip Woods and for the last two years Emily Jones as Jazz Managers. This programming team has built Cheltenham Jazz Festival up into one of the leading jazz festivals in Europe.

Tony has also supported the Birmingham Conservatoire's BMus Jazz course and has until recently co-ordinated the Performance Platform class for third year and final-year students. Tony has also been a member of the Arts Council's Music Panel and was on the Board of both Birmingham Arts Marketing and JazzDev. He is now a member of Jazz Services Touring Panel and is widely consulted about jazz promotion.

He is married to Maggie Jo St. John, and has two grown up children, Stephanie and Adrian. He supports West Bromwich Albion F.C. and Leeds Rhinos.

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