The CBSO Youth Orchestra is born
Wednesday 31 March 2004

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is inviting talented young musicians in the West and East Midlands to apply for its new CBSO Youth Orchestra. Auditions for the 2004/05 Orchestra will take place this summer and 90 lucky players will get the chance to be part of this internationally famous orchestral organisation, playing challenging music in prestigious venues including Symphony Hall with top professional conductors such as the CBSO’s Music Director, Sakari Oramo.

Membership is by annual audition and players must be between the ages of 14 and 21 and play an orchestral instrument to at least Grade 8 standard. Further information and application forms can be found at the CBSO Youth Orchestra’s website

National law firm, Wragge & Co LLP, is a founding sponsor of the new Youth Orchestra. “We’re delighted to be supporting this new venture which will enable the finest young musicians in the Midlands to train alongside world-famous musicians from the CBSO,” explains Quentin Poole, Senior Partner.

“We have a wealth of experience in running education projects and ensembles and the CBSO Youth Orchestra is designed to complement the region’s existing youth and schools orchestras that meet regularly,” adds Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the CBSO. “We want to encourage the very best talent in the Midlands and we aim to make it an ensemble like no other - dynamic, challenging and filled with young players who share the CBSO’s own passion for music.”

The CBSO Youth Orchestra will succeed and incorporate the Midland Youth Orchestra (founded in 1956 by CBSO’s then General Manager Blyth Major) and it will meet two or three times a year in central Birmingham, including intensive, non-residential, weeklong courses during school half terms in October and February. The players will receive coaching from CBSO musicians and each weeklong course will conclude with a public concert in a major Birmingham venue.

The Orchestra’s inaugural concert will take place at the Adrian Boult Hall on Sunday 31 October 2004 and will feature Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, excerpts from Khachaturian’s Spartacus, and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with CBSO cellist Eduardo Vassallo as soloist. The conductor in the first half of the concert will be Anthony Bradbury (the MYO’s Music Director and Conductor) with Sakari Oramo conducting Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 in the second half.

“The MYO can look back on 48 years of exciting music-making with great pride,” explains Stephen Williams, the current Chairman and former Music Director of the Midland Youth Orchestra. “These years have included memorable visits to many international festivals in Europe and across the Atlantic, personal contacts with major international figures in music, world premieres and, of course, that regular pursuit of seeking to perform the finest music as best we can. Blyth Major initially set up the MYO as a ‘nursery’ for the CBSO. Now, nearly half a century later, the creation of the CBSO Youth Orchestra will be a home-coming and yet another great step forward which Anthony and I welcome with relish.”

For further information, please visit the CBSO Youth Orchestra’s website at