The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce that it has appointed Bridget Blow as Chair of the Board - the first female to take up this position in the CBSO's 91 year history.
Bridget, who is also currently a Trustee of the Birmingham Hippodrome, Deputy Chair of the Coventry Building Society and Non-Executive Chairman of Harvard International PLC, said: “I am delighted to join this exciting and vibrant organisation which is so important to the cultural wellbeing of Birmingham and the West Midlands.
“It is an honour to work with such talented people and with the exceptional, world renowned Music Director, Andris Nelsons. The range and quality of the repertoire that we present extends well beyond any other orchestra in the UK with symphonic, choral, contemporary and popular music, meaning there is something for everyone in our programme. Our impressive education work brings music to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds and enables them to experience the joy of music as an important part of life.
“As Chair, my vision is to see the CBSO thrive, continue to extend our reach to other parts of the world so that others can experience the world-class performances we know and love here in the UK, and enhance not only our reputation but the reputation of Birmingham as a world leader in culture”.Her previous roles as a Non-Executive Director of the Bank of England, Vice-President and President of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and as Chair of the Development Board for the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership give her a significant presence within the business community, both regionally and nationally. Bridget also led the management and employee buyout of ITNET plc (which originated as the IT arm of Cadbury Schweppes), and was its Chief Executive from 1994 until 2005.
Stephen Maddock, CBSO chief executive, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Bridget has accepted our invitation to take on this central role within the CBSO family. Odgers Berndtson, the UK's pre-eminent executive search firm based in Brindley Place, Birmingham, were asked to help us find a suitable person and the Board's decision was a unanimous one.
“Artistically we continue to grow; our music director Andris Nelsons and principal guest conductor Edward Gardner, along with our world-class musicians, have brought both international acclaim and increased revenue to the CBSO which, as a charity, is then able to bring musical experiences to a wider audience and to the city of Birmingham. But as we all know, these are challenging times which also require a very clear and strategic approach to ensure our success is sustained into the future and we believe that Bridget has the outstanding skills and insight to guide us through these challenges.”
Councillor Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “This is a terrific appointment. I know Bridget from her work with the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and I’m confident she can steer the CBSO from strength to strength.”
Kumar Muthalagappan, who stands down from the post which he held as Deputy Chair and Chair over the last 5 years, said: “The CBSO has grown significantly over the last few years and I look forward to continuing my support as an ambassador for the organisation as they undoubtedly continue their success story as one of the best orchestras in the world”.
Charles Barwell, who has been a Trustee since 2005, will take up his position as Deputy Chair alongside Bridget.
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Note to Editors
In 2020 the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its centenary. Since the inaugural concert, conducted by Sir Edward Elgar in November 1920, the CBSO has grown into a 90-piece ensemble with a worldwide reputation.
As the resident orchestra of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, the CBSO performs around 130 concerts each year and is in constant demand to appear at venues around the world. Ignite, the CBSO's programme to engage audiences and the community, includes a world-famous family of four choruses, chamber groups, a youth orchestra and an education programme that in total reaches upwards of 50,000 people each year.
The CBSO has a sizable discography, with many recordings having won international prizes. Under Andris Nelsons the CBSO has released critically acclaimed discs with Orfeo featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss and Stravinsky.