City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Schools’ Concerts

The CBSO’s Schools’ Concerts programme is a large-scale project which currently works with 9,000 children from schools across the West Midlands. Each child is given the opportunity to hear an orchestra perform live, in a programme of music tailored to their curriculum stage.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 12:00 PM, 3 December 2019 to 12:00 PM, 10 December 2019


Registered Charity in England and Wales (506276)

Check mark Match funded

Campaign target


Amount raised




Championed by The Reed Foundation


  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • People With DisabilitiesPeople With Disabilities


United Kingdom

  • ‘What an opportunity for the young people to see the power of a full orchestra in such an amazing setting. My students had never seen an orchestra before, and they loved every minute of it.’

    — KS3 teacher, 2019

  • ‘Here was a model of how to make classical music accessible to the widest possible audience.’

    — Bachtrack, 2018

  • ‘Here, happily, the future of music is in good hands.’

    — The Times, 2019

  • 'Throughout our 100-year history the CBSO has always looked at ways of bringing music alive for audiences young and old and inspiring the next generation of musicians. Funds raised through the Christmas Challenge will help us continue to deliver these life-changing experiences for young people.'

    — Stephen Maddock OBE, Chief Executive of CBSO


For many young people in the West Midlands who face significant economic and social barriers to participation in the arts, opportunities to experience live music are only available through their school. The CBSO has long had a deep commitment to offering musical opportunities to these young people. We aim to reach as many schools as possible to ensure that these first encounters with music are of the highest quality.


We aim to hold the following concerts per year: 4 KS3 concerts (ages 11-14) – anticipated audience is around 6,500 young people; 2 KS2 concerts (ages 7-11) – anticipated audience is in the region of 1500 children; 5 KS1 concerts (ages 5-7) – anticipated audience is 650-700 children; 4 Relaxed Performances for all ages – with the aim of meeting the varying needs of the audience, these concerts are programmed and delivered in a very flexible format. Anticipated audience is 700-750 children.