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City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1920, becoming the first British orchestra to be funded by a city council. Its opening concert was conducted by British composer Edward Elgar. Since then, the orchestra has thrived as a bastion of musical culture in the Midlands. It has also gained a reputation for adventurous programming, underlined by the long, fruitful appointment of Simon Rattle as music director.

The City of Birmingham Orchestra was founded by, among others, Neville Chamberlain, a prominent citizen who later became prime minister of the U.K. The orchestra's first conductor was Adrian Boult, who was quickly snapped up by the newly formed BBC Symphony Orchestra in London. Boult was replaced by one of his pupils, Leslie Heward. In 1932, Harold Gray, was named associate conductor, a post he held for nearly 50 years. In 1944, the musicians were hired on a full-time basis, and George Weldon was appointed music director to replace Heward, who had succumbed to tuberculosis.

In 1948, the orchestra was renamed City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), the name it retains to this day. It began to expand its dominion with tours and London performances, including a debut at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1951. An interesting appointment came in 1957 when Polish ex-patriot composer, Andrzej Panufnik, was named principal conductor. He lasted until 1960, when he returned to composing, but the emphasis on new music took hold. In 1962, the CBSO gave the first performances of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at nearby Coventry Cathedral.

In 1969, Frenchman Louis Frémaux was named principal conductor, and he led the orchestra through a series of well-received recordings for EMI. In 1980, Simon Rattle, just 25 years old but already a major talent, was appointed as Frémaux's successor, and he remained with the CBSO for almost 20 years. In that period, Rattle established himself as one of the world's top conductors, and the orchestra solidified its international reputation through tours and an impressive series of recordings. Rattle oversaw a number of interesting innovations during his tenure. One was the establishment of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG), a subset of the orchestra dedicated to performing the music of its time. In 1990, British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage was appointed composer in association, and he created a series of successful scores (such as Three Screaming Popes). In 1995, he was succeeded by Judith Weir, who followed up Rattle's knighthood (still in his thirties!) with her own Companionship of the British Empire. Along with new British music, the CBSO commissioned works by international composers such as Luciano Berio, Tristan Murail, and Toru Takemitsu.

As Rattle moved on to the Berlin Philharmonic in 2002, the CBSO continued its reputation as a forward-looking, world-class orchestra, rooted in a community proud of its independence. Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo led the orchestra into the new millennium with enthusiasm and dedication. Since 2008, the CBSO's music director has been Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons.
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 In F Minor, Op. 36, TH 27

1. Francesca Da Rimini, Op. 32, TH 46

2. I. Andante Sostenuto - Moderato Con Anima (Live)

3. II. Andantino In Modo Di Canzona (Live)

4. III. Scherzo. Pizzicato Ostinato (Live)

5. IV. Finale. Allegro Con Fuoco (Live)

x

Track List: R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, TrV 176

1. Einleitung —

2. Von Den Hinterweltlern —

3. Von Der Grossen Sehnsucht —

4. Von Den Freuden-Und Leidenschaften —

5. Das Grablied —

6. Von Der Wissenschaft —

7. Der Genesende —

8. Das Tanzlied —

9. Nachtwandlerlied

10. Don Juan, Op. 20, TrV 156

11. Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks), Op. 28, TrV 171

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Track List: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74, TH 30 "Pathétique"

1. Romeo & Juliet, TH 42

2. I. Adagio - Allegro non troppo

3. II. Allegro con gracia

4. III. Allegro molto vivace

5. IV. Finale: Adagio lamentoso

x

Track List: Stravinsky: The Firebird & A Symphony Of Psalms

1. Introduction

2. Scene 1: Night. Kastchei's Enchanted Garden

3. Scene 1: The Firebird Enters, Pursued By Ivan Tsarevich

4. Scene 1: The Firebird's Dance

5. Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich Captures The Firebird

6. Scene 1: The Firebird Begs To Be Released

7. Scene 1: Entrance Of The Thirteen Enchanted Princesses

8. Scene 1: The Princesses Play With The Golden Apples (Scherzo)

9. Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich Appears

10. Scene 1: The Princesses' Khorovod (Round Dance)

11. Scene 1: Daybreak

12. Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich, Entering Kastchei's Palace …

13. Scene 1: Magic Carillon - Appearance Of Kastchei's Guardian Monsters - Capture Of Ivan Tsarevich

14. Scene 1: The Entrance Of Kastchei The Immortal

15. Scene 1: Dialogue Between Kastchei And Ivan Tsarevich

16. Scene 1: The Princesses Plead For Mercy

17. Scene 1: The Firebird Enters

18. Scene 1: Dance Of Kastchei's Retinue Under The Firebird's Magic Spell

19. Scene 1: Infernal Dance Of Kastchei And His Subjects Under The Firebird's Magic Spell

20. Scene 1: The Firebird's Lullaby

21. Scene 1: Kastchei Awakens

22. Scene 1: Kastchei's Death

23. Scene 1: Profonds Tenebres

24. Scene 2: Kastchei's Spell Is Broken, His Palace Disappears, And The Petrified Knights Return To Life. General Thanksgiving … .

25. I. Exaudi Orationem Meam, Domine

26. II. Expectans Expectavi, Dominum

27. III. Alleluia. Laudate Dominum

x

Track List: R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Suite & Ein Heldenleben

1. Der Rosenkavalier Suite, Op. 59, TrV 227

2. Der Held (The Hero)

3. Des Helden Widersacher (The Hero's Enemies)

4. Des Helden Gefahrtin (The Hero's Companion)

5. Des Helden Walstatt (The Hero's Field of Battle)

6. Des Helden Friedenswerke (The Hero's Works of Peace)

7. Des Helden Weltflucht und Vollendung (The Hero's Withdrawal from the World)

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Track List: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Hamlet Overture

1. I. Andante - Allegro con anima

2. II. Andante cantabile con alcuna licenza

3. III. Valse. Allegro moderato

4. IV. Finale. Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace

5. Hamlet Overture, Op. 67, TH 53

x

Track List: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 In C Major, Op. 60 "Leningrad"

1. I. Allegretto

2. II. Moderato (Poco Allegretto)

3. III. Adagio

4. IV. Allegro Non Troppo

x

Track List: Julian Anderson: Book of Hours

Title: Eden, For Orchestra

1. Eden, For Orchestra: Eden

Title: Imagin'd Corners, For 5 Horns & Orchestra

2. Imagin'd Corners, For 5 Horns & Orchestra: Imagin'd Corners

Title: American Choruses (4), For Choir

3. American Choruses (4), For Choir: I'm A Pilgrim

4. American Choruses (4), For Choir: Beautiful Valley Of Eden

5. American Choruses (4), For Choir: Bright Morning Star!

6. American Choruses (4), For Choir: At The Fountain

Title: Symphony, For Large Orchestra

7. Symphony, For Large Orchestra: Symphony

Title: Book Of Hours, For Orchestra & Live Electronics

8. Book Of Hours, For Orchestra & Live Electronics: Part One

9. Book Of Hours, For Orchestra & Live Electronics: Part Two

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Track List: Janacek: Sinfonietta/Glagolitic Mass - Felicity Palmer, Malcolm King, Sir Simon Rattle, Philharmonia Orchestra

Title: Sinfonietta For Orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), Jw 6/18
Title: Mass (Msa Glagolskaja) For Soloists, Double Chorus, Orchestra & Organ ("Glagolitic Mass"), Jw 3/9
x

Track List: Szymanowski: Stabat Mater/Litany To The Virgin Mary/Symphony #3 'Song Of The Night' - Sir Simon Rattle, City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

x

Track List: Sibelius: The Seven Symphonies [Box Set]

Disc 1
Title: Symphony No. 1 In E Minor, Op. 39
Title: The Oceanides (Aallottaret), Tone Poem For Orchestra, Op. 73
Disc 2
Title: Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 43
Title: Symphony No. 3 In C Major, Op. 52
Disc 3
Title: Symphony No. 4 In A Minor, Op. 63
Title: Symphony No. 6 In D Minor, Op. 104
Disc 4
Title: Symphony No. 5 In E Flat Major, Op. 82
Title: Kuolema (Death), Incidental Music For Orchestra (I), Op. 44
Title: Symphony No. 7 In C Major, Op. 105
Title: Night Ride & Sunrise (Öinen Ratsastus Ja Auringonnousu), Symphonic Poem For Orchestra, Op. 55

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