CBSO fundraiser gains momentum

Post-Covid recovery programme helps centenary celebrations.

On its 100th birthday, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has launched an ambitious five-year, £12.5 million fundraising campaign, of which £4.4 million has already been raised, designed to ensure the orchestra’s recovery post-Covid and drive its longer-term renewal for a second century. The Sound of the Future aims to redefine the CBSO’s future for the benefit of everyone across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The campaign was launched as the CBSO marked its 100th birthday on Saturday 5th September by streaming a landmark celebration led by former Music Director Sir Simon Rattle from a warehouse in Longbridge. The performance has already been viewed by over 160,000 people worldwide on the orchestra’s Facebook and YouTube channels, and remains available to watch free of charge until the end of September.

CBSO chair David Burbidge CBE and campaign board members Jamie Justham, Chris Loughran and John Osborn, have personally committed leadership gifts totalling over £850,000 to kickstart the campaign. Their gifts will support the core cost of sustaining the orchestra in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, investment in digital infrastructure, future international touring, and the growth of the CBSO Development Trust’s endowment fund.

CBSO Chief Executive Stephen Maddock commented, “All of us at the CBSO are hugely grateful to Chris, David, Jamie and John for their extraordinary leadership and generosity, and also for the practical support that they have offered us in planning the campaign.

“We are equally grateful to the other supporters who have already made gifts. Philanthropy played a vital role in the establishment of the CBSO back in 1920, and it is similarly important to us today. Every gift makes a difference, however large or small – if you share our belief in the value of live music in the Midlands you can find out more about how support the campaign on the CBSO’s website.”

The Sound of the Future is structured in two phases. The Recovery phase will ensure that the CBSO can deliver Covid-compliant concerts and life-enhancing work in the community as quickly as possible. It will use the current situation to innovate and experiment with new ways of working and minimise the risk that the CBSO is forced to follow so many other cultural organisations in significantly diminishing the orchestra’s work.

Building on the Recovery phase, the Renewal phase will reinvigorate the way the CBSO works so that the orchestra can make an even bigger contribution to West Midlands cultural life in its second century.

For 100 years the CBSO family, including the CBSO Chorus, Youth Orchestra and Youth Chorus, have served communities across the West Midlands, bringing them the widest possible range of music; from the world’s greatest symphonic music to Friday Night Classics concert featuring the best movie sound-tracks and show tunes, to fun-filled family concerts and learning and participation activities.

The CBSO launched its centenary celebrations in September 2019, with a host of special programming, events, commissions and community initiatives, all drawing inspiration from its past and looking forward to the future of classical music. Centenary highlights in its 2019-20 season included special commissions by Thea Musgrave and Unsuk Chin, a concert programmed and curated by 13 Youth Ambassadors and a new book, Forward: 100 Years of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, about the orchestra’s history written by Richard Bratby.

You can support the CBSO here.