Last night in Birmingham…

Last night in Birmingham…

A regular concertgoer reports:


I usually sit on the side circle At Symphony Hall, but was moved up to the higher level by the CBSO because my usual seats were being used by the wind and brass players of the CBSO in the John Luther Adams choral work.

I was sitting two levels above the orchestra – not the best viewing place!

I have attached a photo which I took just before the conductor walked on the stage.

Yes, a very poor audience, probably put off by a 45-minute work by a composer little known in this country.

I have been to over 2600 concerts in SH since it opened in 1991 (more than anyone else). I have heard many fantastic concerts and some dreadful music as well.
Although I probably wouldn’t go to hear last night’s new work again, I found it interesting and challenging for the wonderful choir. I have heard far worse in my past concert going!

The Grand Tier hasn’t been used since the pandemic, for any CBSO or visiting orchestra concerts, unless they were exceptionally popular.

The ticket prices don’t help.

Prices range from £16 to £59, this season. Next season the higher prices go up to £62. Some have gone up over £10 a ticket. These prices include a ticket charge of £3.50 per ticket (This is set by B.Music who runs Symphony Hall, not the CBSO). If 4 people go, that is an extra £14. It would be fairer if it were £3.50 per booking. If you book 7 or more concerts in one go, this £3.50 is cancelled. If you book 12 or more single concerts, in one go, you get £10 off each ticket, but even that is very expensive in these difficult times.

The cheapest seats, at £26, are the first 4 rows of the stalls, but if the stage extension is used, like last night, 3 rows of the cheapest seats are removed.

I can’t understand why anyone would want to sit in these seats as, being so close to the orchestra, you get most of the sound from the violins or cellos and you can’t see most of the rest of the orchestra properly. You can’t get the balanced sound of a symphony orchestra in these seats.

As far as I could see the new CEO wasn’t at last night’s concert.

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