Posted 03 January 2019
Experience of playing in orchestras and other large ensembles represents one of the most important aspects of your training, helping you to meet the expectations of the modern portfolio musician. The range of experience you get from playing in orchestras and ensembles will help you to develop the knowledge and flexibility required for the demands of professional music-making.
Away from our own impressive music facilities, which opened in 2017 at a cost of £57 million and include five stunning performance venues, performances sometimes take place at Symphony Hall – one of Europe’s finest concert venues – as part of our close relationship with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). We also use local cathedrals for our chamber choir and Brass Band concerts, making the most of the excellent acoustics and inspiring surroundings available in our city.
The breadth of the music you will encounter is enhanced by the opportunity to work with a variety of artists, some of whom may be permanent, or otherwise visiting members of Conservatoire staff. Each artist, whether they be a conductor, soloist or professional orchestra member, brings their own style to their work, which engenders an important learning experience for the budding professional musician.
Orchestras and Ensembles
- Brass Band
- Chamber Orchestra
- Conducting for Composers
- Conservatoire Folk Ensemble
- Early Music
- Orchestral Auditions
- Professional Development Partnerships
- Pops Orchestra
- Repertoire Orchestra
- String Orchestra
- Symphony Orchestra
- Thallein Orchestra
- Wind Orchestra
Equally important is the opportunity to experience the reality of professional scheduling and discipline. You need to be punctual, organised and well prepared, because this is what the music profession will demand of you. We have high expectations and intend to maintain our excellent standard of orchestral activity, whilst maintaining a supportive and encouraging environment.
Outside the Conservatoire you will be able to audition for the CBSO Youth Orchestra, which runs three courses every year that include sectional coaching from CBSO musicians, rehearsals, and performances with leading professional conductors. In addition, the CBSO Training Scheme offers a series of masterclasses by CBSO principals as well as a sit-in scheme with the orchestra, and is the most comprehensive relationship between a symphony orchestra and conservatoire in the UK.
There are also side-by-side and participation schemes with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera, Orchestra of the Swan and the Royal Shakespeare Company, allowing successful candidates to gain valuable first-hand exposure to a wide range of professional activities. You’ll also find slightly more unusual ways to gain experience, like the famous Joe Broughton’s Conservatoire Folk ensemble (pictured above) which is a popular elective available on our BMus course.