City of Sounds says farewell to Adrian Boult Hall

Festival to signpost way for cutting-edge facility.

Adrian Boult Hall - Photo: The Birmingham Press

Adrian Boult Hall – Photo: The Birmingham Press

After 30 years of offering live classical, jazz and experimental music performances, Birmingham Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall will hear its last note on Sunday 26th June – but not before it is celebrated in style as part of a two-month long music festival.

Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, has already embarked on the farewell City of Sounds – Saying Goodbye to Birmingham Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall festival, in conjunction with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. The festival marks the Hall’s closure, but also look ahead to its new £56 million home in the Eastside region of the city, currently under construction and due to open in 2017.

City of Sounds opened on Sunday 1st May with a celebrity recital from world famous musicians Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway and will close on Sunday 26th June with Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra performing Verdi’s Requiem conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong – which will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

In between, music fans are enjoying concerts from internationally-renowned musicians to brilliant students including performances by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, local folk band The Destroyers and a City Talk by saxophonist and 10cc member, Mike Stevens.

Aaron Diaz from The Destroyers said: “Many of us have studied at the Conservatoire at one point or another – at the last count there were nine Birmingham City University graduates in the band – so it’s a treat to play one of our few Birmingham shows this year in a venue we once performed as bright-eyed students!

“Our partners in crime for this fantastic double-header send-off for the Adrian Boult Hall are the inimitable Conservatoire Folk Ensemble led by Joe Broughton. We’ll be performing earlier than our regular performances, which promises to make the gig a great family event.”

City of Sounds is also welcoming West Midlands music groups and ensembles, including Birmingham Festival Choral Society, Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, Ex Cathedra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir, the Conservatoire Alumni Orchestra and Services for Education – Music Service, who will all get the chance to perform in the Adrian Boult Hall for the final time.

The Adrian Boult Hall is the next in a series of buildings being demolished as part of the £500 million Paradise regeneration project, which has already seen the loss of the brutalist Birmingham Central Library.

Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, commentd: “This is such a fitting end to one of the great Birmingham attractions, for which the Chamber has been delighted to play its part over the years. We look forward to an amazing new home for the Conservatoire and know that its great history and traditions will continue to be part of the fantastic cultural achievements of the city.”

Often described as one of the best concert halls of its size in the country, the 520-seat auditorium was opened in 1986 by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester. Since then, it has welcomed diverse performances from well-known names such as violinists Nigel Kennedy and Tasmin Little, Conservatoire Principal and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, singer Dame Felicity Lott and composer Pierre Boulez.

As part of one of the leading music academies in the country, Birmingham Conservatoire students have always remained integral to the Hall’s programme. Its stage has been graced by alumni including soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, baritone Rhydian Roberts and conductor Michael Seal.

Birmingham Conservatoire Principal Professor Julian Lloyd Webber said: “I wonder if Birmingham will ever have seen so many of its extraordinary musical organisations gathered together under the same roof! The Adrian Boult Hall has been at the forefront of Birmingham’s cultural mix for the past 30 years, so it is fitting that we are marking its closure with a magnificent festival.

“Although we are saying goodbye to the Adrian Boult Hall, City of Sounds is also the perfect signpost for what’s to come. The new Birmingham Conservatoire will be the first of its kind purpose-built for the digital age and, along with our new auditorium, audiences will be able to enjoy Birmingham’s only dedicated jazz venue.”

The Adrian Boult Hall was named in honour of the renowned English conductor, Sir Adrian Cedric Boult. He was conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra from 1924 to 1930, before the BBC appointed him as its Director of Music. Among many accolades in his career, Sir Adrian conducted the first performance of his friend Gustav Holst’s The Planets in 1918.

City of Sounds’ runs until Sunday 26th June at the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire. Between the closure of the Adrian Boult Hall and the new building opening, Birmingham Conservatoire will be presenting a full programme of concerts in its Recital Hall, as well as at partner venues across the City including Town Hall, Symphony Hall, Elgar Concert Hall – Bramall Music Building (University of Birmingham), CBSO Centre, St Philip’s Cathedral, St Paul’s Church and the Rep Studio Theatre.

For a full list of events and to purchase tickets for City of Sounds, visit