The annual University Music ‘Summer Festival of Music’ is the highlight of the summer for musicians at the University of Birmingham – this year a week of festival ‘virtual’ performances was held over seven days in June.

The festival included video performances from the Summer Festival Orchestra and Music Society Brass Band, a host of New Music presented by the Creative Exchange, as well as our immersive electroacoustic setup, miniBEAST. 

The final performance was the culmination of work between student composers and musicians, a set of ‘Miniatures in Isolation’ that have come together over the last few weeks as the composers respond to their experience during lockdown. This creative student project was the ideal way for us to finish this year’s festival - an event which enabled us to maintain our sense of community, continue to inspire each other, and be inspired, by what our students can achieve, and share music-making at a time when music is needed most.

The Summer Festival of Music 2020 has received over 33,608 views, reaching 10 countries across the world with 7 being outside of Europe!

The festival saw 25 student compositions premiered, the launch of the Gufeng Pop ensemble (combining western classical instruments with Chinese, Japanese, and Indian traditional instruments), the Summer Festival e-orchestra, archive performances from our choirs, an alumni day, and virtual performances from a host of University Music ensembles such as Brass Band, Jazz Orchestra and Creative Exchange. The festival  also gave us the opportunity to trial a new way of working with our Music students and has enabled us to progress plans for the coming academic year.

Particular mention should go to third year Music BMus student Ed Ault who worked to edit some of the performances to an outstanding level of professionalism. A fine example of how adaptable, and multi-talented student musicians can be.

Even though the festival is over for another year, we continue making music and our Symphonic Brass ensemble are currently preparing video performances for the upcoming virtual degree congregations with Daniele Rosina and University Organist Henry Fairs.

We hope you can find time to enjoy some of the performances from the festival below.