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Students playing instruments

This semester’s programme features a selection of newly commissioned works, alongside some classic orchestral repertoire, and a variety of exciting collaborations.

Kicking us off are Philharmonic Orchestra with their performance of Xian Xinghai’s Yellow River Piano Concerto in collaboration with the China Institute. The concerto was composed using a mixture of Western and Chinese musical influences and, performed by visiting artist Di Xiao, will feature as part of the annual Lunar New Year celebrations on campus. Following this performance, the orchestra will perform again in March with a programme celebrating the 150th birthday of American composer Charles Ives.

We are thrilled to welcome guest artist Steve Banks, who will be performing his debut album ‘Emboldened’ with the University Jazz Orchestra, led by Jonathan Silk. The guitarist and composer first released ‘Emboldened’ in May 2023 and this concert will see the reimagining of his original quintet orchestrations into a suite for large ensemble, alongside the world premiere of a selection of additional arrangements.

This spring also sees the world premieres of eight new pieces based on Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy as performed by our New Music Ensemble with Daniele Rosina. The new suite consists of compositions from a variety of our academic colleagues, postgraduate students, and alumni, and will form part of a captivating multi-media performance in collaboration with BEAST.

Brass Band will once again be taking part in UniBrass, the annual inter-university brass band contest, this year with a theme based around ‘Legends of Brass’. They will be revisiting classic works from renowned composers and soloists of the past and celebrating the legends of the future with a commissioned piece of music by alumni Charlie Whelan.

Students performing in brass band.

Highlights of our choral activities include the performance of a newly commissioned work by the award-winning composer Toby Young, to be performed by the Birmingham University Singers in their joint concert with University Upper Voices, who mark ten years since their founding in 2013. Birmingham University Liturgical Choir are also looking forward to visiting St Philip’s, Birmingham Cathedral for their second outing of the academic year. The group, comprised of members from all of the University Music choirs, will give choral evensong led by Dr Paul Rodmell.

Finally, we’re pleased to report that our partnership with Wylde Green URC Church will continue into the spring with an exciting and varied programme of solo and joint recitals, starting with an organ recital from Cian O’Dwyer and with further performances throughout the semester from our final year recitalists.

University Music provides the University of Birmingham with one of the liveliest music-making scenes of any campus. With around 1500 positions available in our 35-plus ensembles, members participate in a variety of instrumental and vocal groups, across a range of abilities and styles. University Music is open to students, staff, and the local community, and provides participants with opportunities for professional coaching, exceptional concerts, and also offers scholarships for incoming students to the University.

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