A to Z of the CBSO

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Saturday 19th September, 7.00pm

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


  • Vivaldi Four Seasons (excerpt)
  • Zimmer Pirates of the Carribean
  • Williams – Star Wars = encore


Put 90 top-flight musicians on one stage, and there’s no limit to what they can do. Three centuries in the making, the symphony orchestra is still the ultimate piece of music technology: at home in the concert hall or the movie studio, and capable of summoning up over 300 years of music in breathtaking live sound. Tonight, Michael Seal and the full CBSO walk you through an A to Z of the orchestra: with music ranging from Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine to Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean!

If you’re not sure where to begin with the CBSO, come along for just a tenner to find out more. And if you’re a regular – why not bring a friend to introduce them?

Shostakovich Uncovered


Wednesday 11th February 2015 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Alpesh Chauhan  conductor
Paul Rissmann  presenter

Shostakovich: An introduction to Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 40′
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 (The Year 1905) 60′
Listen on Spotify

Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony is an epic musical tale of tyranny and revolution – or is it? In this special concert, presenter Paul Rissmann uses illustrations, anecdotes and the full CBSO to explain Shostakovich’s hidden agenda – and unlock the story behind the music. Then Andris Nelsons conducts a full performance of this most gripping of 20th century symphonies.

6.15pm: Conservatoire Showcase Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy, Op.54 Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Seal, performs Scriabin’s spectacular fourth symphony.

Support the CBSO

Bartók Uncovered


Thursday 16th October 2014 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner  conductor
Paul Rissmann  presenter

Bartók: Talk on Bartok Concerto for Orchestra 45′
Brahms: Three Hungarian Dances 12′
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra 35′
Listen on Spotify

Exiled to America, Béla Bartók re-invented himself, and his Concerto for Orchestra is far more than just one of the most entertaining showpieces ever created for a great symphony orchestra. In this specially-devised concert, presenter Paul Rissman uses illustrations, anecdotes and the full CBSO to unlock the puzzles, secrets and not-so private jokes of this 20th century landmark – before Edward Gardner conducts a complete live performance.

If you like this concert, you might also like:
From the Danube to the Rhine, Thursday 5th February & Saturday 7th February, 2015
Summer Showcase, Thursday 25th June, 2015


Tuned In: Elgar’s Enigma

Thursday 7 March 2013 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 

Michael Seal  conductor

Paul Rissmann  presenter

An introduction to Elgar’s In the South 20’

Elgar: In the South 20’


An introduction to Elgar’s Enigma Variations 20’

Elgar: Enigma Variations 32’


Elgar didn’t call them the “Enigma” variations for nothing! In this special Tuned In concert, renowned presenter Paul Rissmann shares Elgar’s affectionate portraits of his friends and helps you attempt to crack the intriguing Enigma of one of the best-loved pieces in all British music, as well as whisking you off on the composer’s sunny Mediterranean jaunt.

He’ll guide you through the stories behind the music using a whole host of images, and unlock the musical building blocks that Elgar uses to create his caricatures – all assisted live on stage by conductor Michael Seal and the whole Orchestra. What better way to set the scene for a full performance of these gloriously enjoyable and very British masterpieces?