CBSO launch appeal to continue educational work

Funding shock for leading orchestra.

James MacMillan c Hans van der Woerd

The future plans of one of Birmingham’s most famous cultural exports have been jeopardised by news that its budgets is to be slashed, forcing them to make a plea for alternative funding.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, long regarded as one of the finest in the world, has recently received a substantial 24% funding cut and in order to maintain the orchestra’s international excellence the CBSO players recently launched an appeal.

The CBSO was recently described as a ‘world-class orchestra’ in the national press, and won international acclaim for giving the best concert of 2013 in a poll of Japan’s leading music critics. It performs for over 200,000 people each year, offers musical education for the region’s least privileged young people, nurtures 750 talented musicians through its six choirs and its youth orchestra, and serves as one of Birmingham’s highest-profile ambassadors on the world stage through its tours, broadcasts and recordings.

Plans for the period up to its centenary are ambitious – but its public funding has been slashed by 24% since 2010. The orchestra is seeking to raise £1 million to support its work this year, around 80% of which has already been committed.

In a bid to raise £50,000 towards the remaining target, players from the orchestra are writing personally to thousands of the orchestra’s regular concertgoers with an appeal for donations. Through the generosity of an anonymous CBSO supporter, every pound donated will be matched by another pound for the orchestra’s educational work up to a total of £50,000.

The money raised with support three priority areas of its work:
• keynote concerts, which in 2014–15 include Wagner’s Parsifal, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and the UK premiere of James MacMillan’s St Luke Passion;
• the CBSO Youth Orchestra, Youth Chorus and Children’s Chorus, which provide musical opportunities for 300 of the region’s most talented young musicians;
• War Requiem, a four-year major community project in Perry Barr bringing together young people with residents in local care homes to commemorate the World War 1 centenary through music.

Donations can be made by post to CBSO Appeal, Freepost BM6250, Birmingham B1 2BR, online at, or in person at CBSO concerts.

Pic – Conductor James MacMillan, (c) Hans van der Woerd