Music in Birmingham

In addition to the varied programme available on campus at the Bramall and Barber Concert Hall, Birmingham itself has an incredibly wide and eclectic range of music offerings.

 Symphony Hall at night

Here some examples:

  • Sister venues the Symphony Hall and the Town Hall are home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). They offer a varied classical programme welcoming many of the finest orchestras and virtuosos performing today. The Symphony Hall is widely regarded as the finest concert hall in Europe.
  • The Birmingham Opera Company creating and stage opera in unpredictable and unusual places close to the streets of the city, sharing great art with the general public.
  • The Welsh National Opera performs its repertoire at the Birmingham Hippodrome. As the Company's Midlands base, the theatre welcomes them three times a year in the spring, summer and autumn. WNO are Europe's busiest touring opera company and the largest provider of touring opera in the UK.
  • Fans of live rock, indie and pop music are spoilt for choice. Venues range from the enormous Barclaycard and Genting Arenas to medium sized settings such as MAC Birmingham, the Institute and the O2 Academy, as well as a whole host of smaller venues such as The Custard Factory, the Hare and Hounds or the Roadhouse.
  • Many local venues and clubs support busy jazz and folk scenes, including hosting festivals in both genres. The Jam House in the Jewelry Quarter is popular amongst Rhythm and Blues fans.

The University has a wide range of links with many of these organisations:  

  • We regularly hold concerts in the Town Hall and Symphony Hall;
  • Coaching for our orchestra players from the professional musicians from CBSO and many of our students are also members of the CBSO Youth Orchestra;
  • Honorary Professors and Research Fellows such as Graham Vick (artistic director of Birmingham Opera Company), Koen Kessels (Music Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet) and Jeffrey Skidmore (artistic director of Ex Cathedra). Through these links our students can get involved in major musical events in the city, as well as performance and composition workshops;
  • Students have access to open rehearsals at these venues from the likes of Thomas Adès, Sakari Oramo and Sir Simon Rattle.