Last month I did a round up of music based events and shows, mostly in Birmingham UK, that covered the first half of April as well as March. I did that because the Easter holidays are on in April and my What’s On post comes out the first full week of each month, which would be the Easter week. So I would post this as half of next month’s events were happening. I am not going to repeat all of those shows here, but I am going to link to the post below, so you can see the events for the first half of this month. So this may be a slightly shorter post this month, but then again Birmingham Rep have a musical on this month, and I wanted to add in venues in Solihull as it is in easy distance of Birmingham. So it may well end up being a similar length to last month’s What’s On Roundup.
Below you will find a list of the venues and events featured that links to the section of the post that covers that venue/event. So you could have a look through all the events on, or just go straight to the place or show that you are most interested in.
March What’s On For Kids In Birmingham
Home to Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Welsh National Opera, the Hippodrome is a fantastic large venue that hosts touring arts companies who put on big shows like musicals.
Titanic The Musical on 18-22 April at various times
In the final hours of 14th April 1912, the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, collided with an iceberg and ‘the unsinkable ship’ slowly sank. It was one of the most tragic disasters of the 20th Century. 1,517 men, women and children lost their lives. Based on real people aboard the most legendary ship in the world, Titanic The Musical is a stunning and stirring production focusing on the hopes, dreams and aspirations of her passengers.
The original Broadway production of Titanic The Musical won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. This stunning production celebrates the 10th anniversary of its London premiere where it won sweeping critical acclaim across the board.
U Dance West Midlands on 19 April at 6pm.
An evening full of vibrant and exciting dance genres and themes performed by some of the best young talents from across the West Midlands. This is an exciting opportunity for young people aged 11-19 to perform in a professional venue.
U.Dance WM is the regional platform for One Dance UK’s national U.Dance Festival.
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Birmingham Repertory Theatre, or The Rep, is a theatre in Birmingham. It is a Producing House, which means that most of the shows on there are made, rehearsed and put on in the Rep itself. Backstage you will find (as well as the stage, dressing rooms etc) rehearsal rooms, huge set building workshops, workshops where they make the costumes, props and wigs for the shows. It’s a fascinating place to look around if you get a chance to go on a tour.
Rush: A Joyous Jamaican Journey on 26-29 April at 7pm and 2pm.
This is unmissable” Stage Talk Magazine
Join us for the narrated musical as we tell the story of Reggae music and the Windrush Generation and hear how this music took the world by storm.
Featuring ska, rock steady, calypso, gospel, lovers rock, dancehall and Reggae played live by the JA Reggae Band.
Get ready to enjoy the music of Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Millie Small and many more.
WOW!!! … the two vocalists were outstanding and gave me chills with their amazing voices.” Audience member
NB This show is recommended for age 10 and over.
Symphony Hall is a wonderful purpose built concert hall, famous for its amazing acoustics. The Hall is part of the International Convention Centre on Centenary Square, next door to Birmingham Rep Theatre. This is a venue that is very close to my heart and one I spent a lot of time in when I was younger as my a couple of my first jobs were at Symphony Hall. Symphony Hall’s sister venue, Birmingham Town Hall is just a little way down the road, and another venue close to my heart having gone to some of my first concerts here as a child and performed here with my school as a teenager.
CBSO plays Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony on 21 April at 2.15pm
Rossini The Thieving Magpie: Overture, 10
Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola, 30
Beethoven Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral), 40
Mozart loved to direct his music while he played it – and that’s exactly what Julian Rachlin will be doing today, as together with viola player Sarah McElravy he performs what might be the finest concerto Mozart ever wrote. Rossini’s high-spirited overture sets things fizzing; then experience the splendour and serenity of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony – a day in the country, right here in Birmingham.
CBSO plays Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony
Free Jazz Fridays: Impossible Conversations on 21 April at 5pm
Impossible Conversations is a jazz band that blends the sounds of traditional jazz with contemporary musical styles. Made up of a group of young and talented musicians, each bringing their unique musical backgrounds to the table, the band creates a sound that is both familiar and fresh. With a deep love for the Jazz genre, the members of Impossible Conversations seek to push the boundaries of jazz and create something truly special with every performance.
The Birmingham based band bring together six young and unique musicians consisting of both a tight rhythm section and front line with Louis Hamilton-Foad (Drums), Gabriel Amann (Trumpet), Ben Lawrence (Guitar) ,Sam Sharpe (Bass),Alex Smith (Keys)and Gemma Fletcher (Flute).
B:Classical 2022/23: Iceland Symphony Orchestra on 21 April at 7.30pm
Eva Ollikainen conductor
Sir Stephen Hough piano
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Metacosmos
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 3
Tchaikovsky Symphony No 5
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra made their Symphony Hall debut in 2020 as part of their 70th anniversary tour, and their creative energy and distinctive character made it one of the highlights of the season, so it’s a thrill to welcome them back with their new chief conductor Eva Ollikainen at the helm in a programme of great musical monuments. They’re joined by the irrepressible Sir Stephen Hough for the Beethoven concerto he’s said he finds perhaps the most moving, and which progresses from the dark minor key opening, through an exquisite slow movement to the ebullient coda of the rondo finale.
Metacosmos is the latest offering by the orchestra’s composer in residence Anna Thorvaldsdottir whose striking sound world is often inspired by nature. Tchaikovsky’s dramatic and, ultimately, triumphant Fifth Symphony belies the difficulties the composer had with it. Full of enthusiasm at the outset, he soon found himself struggling for inspiration and, when complete, the best he could say was that the symphony was “no worse than my previous ones”. But the lyrical beauty, dramatic outbursts and unashamed romance ensured that audiences loved it – as did Tchaikovsky eventually – and it has remained enduringly popular.
B:Classical 2022/23: Iceland Symphony Orchestra
B:Classical 2022/23 & ECHO Rising Stars: James Newby on 23 April at 11am
James Newby: Baritone
Joseph Middleton: Piano
Schubert Die schöne Müllerin
There’s a real buzz around James Newby. Already a significant voice in Lied singing, he’s a BBC New Generation Artist, regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and Oxford Lieder Festivals and a member of Staatsoper Hannover. Among armfuls of prizes are the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award and Richard Tauber Prize for best interpretation of Schubert Lied. In a sublime match of music and verse, Schubert weaves his magic over the 20 songs in the cycle about the young, and ultimately tragic, love of the miller’s apprentice for the Fair Maid of the Mill.
In our Sunday morning Rising Stars recitals, we’ll hear from a group of outstanding artists, hand-picked by the directors of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls. Each musician embarks on an international concert tour of halls in the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) network and B:Music venues Symphony Hall and Town Hall have been there since the series began in 1995.
Join us in Symphony Hall’s new Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space for a delightful hour or so in the company of superb musicians, and enjoy a coffee or tea and a slice of cake into the bargain.
ECHO artist nominated by the Barbican, London
B:Classical 2022/23 & ECHO Rising Stars: James Newby
Free Jazz Fridays: RBC, Sienna & Hamburg Ensembles on 28 April at 5pm
Free jazz in the transformed spaces at Symphony Hall.
Free Jazz Fridays: RBC, Sienna & Hamburg Ensembles
Carmina Burana: CBSO and Kabuki Yamada on 27 April at 7.30pm
Sex, drink and roasted swans – choral music isn’t meant to be this much fun! But the medieval monks who wrote the words to Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana don’t seem to have been too bothered. Prepare for serious joy as Kazuki Yamada unleashes the CBSO and (count ’em) no fewer than three great Birmingham choirs; first, though, he rediscovers the blazing Sinfonia Sacra by former CBSO chief conductor Andrzej Panufnik.
NB, given the subject matter of this piece, you may not wish to bring your younger children to this concert, although as it is written in Latin and German your children probably wouldn’t pick up on the subject matter.
Carmina Burana: CBSO and Kabuki Yamada
CBSO Benevolent Fund Concert on 30 April at 3pm
Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet, 21
Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1, 21
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique), 46
Don’t be misled by its title: Pathetique means “full of feeling”, and no symphony wears its heart quite so passionately on its sleeve as Tchaikovsky’s Sixth – a no-holds-barred musical autobiography by a composer on the edge. Add the star-cross’d romance of Romeo and Juliet, plus two of British music’s brightest stars playing Shostakovich’s fizzing Concerto, and you can expect off-the-scale emotion from Kazuki Yamada and the CBSO.
The CBSO Benevolent Fund is a registered friendly society no. 735F and all proceeds from this concert will go towards supporting former CBSO players and staff.
Birmingham Town Hall – to do from here down still
Symphony Hall’s sister venue, Birmingham Town Hall is just a little way down the road, and another venue close to my heart having gone to some of my first concerts here as a child and performed here with my school as a teenager.
Four Seasons: CBSO and Eugene Tzikindelean on 22 April at 7pm
The birdsong of Spring, the icy shiver of Winter: baroque music doesn’t get more tuneful – or vivid – than Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. CBSO leader Eugene Tzikindelean is first-among-equals tonight, pairing Vivaldi with the impassioned tangos of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. First, though, an encounter with Death and the Maiden. Expect some serious drama: up close in Birmingham Town Hall, it’ll sound larger than life.
Four Seasons: CBSO and Eugene Tzindelean
B:Classical 2022/23 Pavel Haas Quartet on 28 April at 7.30pm
“In this repertoire, they are simply matchless today” said the Sunday Times of the Pavel Haas Quartet’s recording of Dvořák. They’ve been ranked in the Top 10 greatest string quartets of all time by the BBC Music magazine, alongside the Amadeus, Borodin and Alban Berg Quartets. In their early years they were ECHO Rising Stars and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists, and won the first of six Gramophone Awards for their first CD.
Dvořák started his G major Quartet just before leaving New York and it was the first piece he completed when he arrived back in Prague. A close cousin of the ‘American’ Quartet, it is shot through with the same rhythmic vitality and Bohemian spirit. The dramatic intensity is palpable in Schubert’s last string quartet, one of several landmark pieces composed at lightning speed in the last years of his life. The Pavel Haas Quartet won’t hold back: “At times it is hard to believe you are in the presence of only four players, so intense is the sound” (Gramophone).
B:Classical 2022/23 Pavel Haas Quartet
The CBSO is a world class orchestra, right on our doorstep. They have performed all over the world, and are absolutely fantastic. The orchestra performs regularly at both the Town Hall and Symphony Hall in Birmingham and in their own home just down the road and nearer the canal, the CBSO Centre. You will see above in the listing for both Symphony Hall and Town Hall that concerts by the CBSO are being performed at those venues this month, in this section I am talking only about the concerts that will take place at the CBSO Centre.
CBSO Centre Stage: Cello Ensemble on 28 April at 2pm
One cello sounds gorgeous. So imagine the mouthwatering sonic decliciousness when a whole team of them play in close harmony. It’s like dark chocolate for the ears, and today the CBSO’s cello section has a story to tell, with melodious musical tales from by Grieg, Rossini, Tchaikovsky. Puccini and many more. You already know the tunes (and the stories) – hear them get the deluxe treatment!
CBSO Centre Stage: Cello Ensemble
Midland Arts Centre (MAC)
MAC is a multi-purpose venue, meaning that there is an art gallery both a separate gallery space and one around the cafe areas, workshop spaces, a theatre, a cinema, and other performance spaces. It is also located in Canon Hill Park making it a great place for a day out.
TDE: High Res Heart & Trevor Watts/John Edwards/Østvang Tollef on 20 April at 8pm
A superb double bill featuring two great trios: High Res Heart, a group led by saxophonist Martin Archer with Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet and flugelhorn and Martin Pyne on drums and vibes PLUS one of the pioneers of Free Jazz in the UK, saxophonist Trevor Watts, the amazing bass player John Edwards and Norwegian drummer Østvang Tollef.
Two open trios taking the music in different directions with lots of surprises!
TDE: High Res Heart & Trevor Watts/John Edwards/Østvang Tollef
Babies Adventures in Music (BAM) on 21 April at 11am & 1.30pm
We can’t wait to see you back at our special BAM concerts in the new year!
Bring your baby for a bounce with singer Sam Frankie Fox and multi-instrumentalist Ricardo Rocha. This warmly interactive performance for babies, families and friends celebrates music with a host of instruments, styles, gentle movements and stimulating sounds. A mix of familiar and new music comes to each months’ sessions, building on your babies’ previous interaction and giving them more chance to learn and to grow!
Performances feature harp, diatonic accordion, a range of stringed instruments, songs in different languages and lots lots more.
• Suitable for babies 0-18 months and their families and friends.
• Performances are 30 minutes long.
Duarte Fado Concert on 28 April at 7.30pm
Fado is a style that developed in 19th century Lisbon, a kind of Portuguese Blues, with themes reflecting the harsh realities of life amongst those on the margins of society – sailors, prisoners and prostitutes – and using to maximum effect the wonderful musicality of the Portuguese language. Lisbon is now famed for its many fado clubs and the style represents the quintessential sound of the city.
Duarte is an award-winning singer of fado, the evocative and emotional songs of old Lisbon, as well as his own compositions, inspired by his clients in his day-job as a clinical psychologist. In writing about the struggles and dreams of people he works with, Duarte’s mission is to listen to life and to keep the soul of fado real: “I’m married to psychology but fado is my mistress”, he confesses.
Starting to sing fado aged 7, in 2006 Duarte won the prestigious Male Revelation Prize of the Amália Rodrigues Foundation. He communicates with the subtlest of vocal styling, minute gestures that mean everything, and an infectious, empathetic joy, with a facility to not take himself too seriously.
Despite, or because of this, Duarte is one of the most prominent male voices of a new generation of fado singers.
With Pedro Amendoeira (Portuguese guitar) and João Filipe (guitar).
Warwick Arts Centre
Warwick Arts Centre is a multi-purpose arts centre based at the University off Warwick, that is actually based in Coventry rather than Warwick. It hosts music, drama, comedy, dance performances and more along with a number of different workshops and arts classes for the local community. They have recently re-opened after a very big refurbishment.
Musical Picnic on 23 April at 11am
A wonderful monthly series of original, participatory family performances continue featuring an eclectic mix of incredible musicians, musical styles, cultures, instruments and personalities.
Artist over the coming months to include, Randolph Matthews, The Hotclub of Jupiter, Bostin Brass, BAM! Babies’ Adventures in Music (with Sam Frankie Fox & Ricardo Rocha).
Free to just drop by between 11am & 12.30pm
Jazz Fridays on 28 April at 5.30pm
Avoid the traffic, drop in to Benugo’s after work on a Friday and enjoy some free jazz.
We’re delighted to present our new foyer programme of live jazz at Benugo’s Bar & Kitchen, led by The Moloney Trio.
Featuring Aaron Moloney (drums), Wayne Matthews (bass) and Keenan Ngo (piano), plus special guest musicians.
Far From The Norm Presents: Mama on 26 April at 7.30pm
Mama is the latest work from Olivier award winning choreographer Botis Seva.
Mixing the beauty of chaos with the quietness of the human soul, Mama questions what race and culture means in todays world.
We build, we destroy, we hate, we love, we try, and we continue, but some of us don’t forget.
This show is recommended for ages 11 and over
Far From The Norm Presents: Mama
Chineke! Orchestra on 27 April at 7.30pm
Building on their awe-inspiring appearances with us in 2019 and 2022 Chineke! makes a much-welcomed return to the Butterworth Hall.
Chineke! is Europe’s first professional orchestra comprising a majority of black and ethnically diverse musicians. Each of their programmes include works by composers of ethnically diverse backgrounds – with their latest concert featuring Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Famously dubbed The Black Mahler, his light yet spirited Two Novelletten is actually inspired by German Robert Schumann’s piano miniatures, the eight Novelletten.
Completing the programme are Gustav Holst’s St Paul’s Suite, which takes its name from the Hammersmith school where Holst taught; Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto, a wartime piece penned after his Fifth Symphony; and Beethoven’s enchanting Fourth Symphony, with its noteworthy second movement.
The soloist is Armand Djikoloum, the 20-something prize-winner who has appeared with such leading orchestras as Hannover Staatsoper, Staatskapelle Dresden, Stavanger Symphony, Frankfurt Opera, and Oslo Opera House.
We Touch We Play We Dance on 30 April at 10.30am & 1.30pm
The four dancers in We Touch, We Play, We Dance weave around the space, inviting babies and children to join them in a warm hearted and playful performance.
With music mixed live by a DJ, the dancers respond to the children, guiding them through a series of exchanges and encounters, with high fives, hugs and dancing.
Created by Second Hand Dance, We Touch, We Play, We Dance is a mesmerising, engaging and fun performance for children under 3.
It’s a show filled with surprises and joys where you and your child can listen and watch, or let loose and join in, either way, you’ll have a wonderful time.
MET Opera: Champion on 30 April at 12.30pm
Six-time Grammy Award–winning composer Terence Blanchard brings his first opera to the Met after his Fire Shut Up in My Bones triumphantly premiered with the company to universal acclaim in 2021.
Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green is the young boxer Emile Griffith, who rises from obscurity to become a world champion, and bass-baritone Eric Owens portrays Griffith’s older self, haunted by the ghosts of his past. Soprano Latonia Moore is Emelda Griffith, the boxer’s estranged mother, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is the bar owner Kathy Hagan.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin takes the podium for Blanchard’s second Met premiere, also reuniting the director-and-choreographer team of James Robinson and Camille A. Brown.
This event is for people aged over 12.
The Core Theatre, Solihull
Something here about the venue
The Three Little Pigs on 12 April at 2pm
Once upon a time, in a muddy field by the sea, there lived The Three Little Pigs.
Following the huge success of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Lost The Plot Theatrical hit the road with another family classic… it’s time to get blown away in this brand-new musical adventure of The Three Little Pigs!
Join our Three Little Pigs as they excitedly leave the family sty in search of new adventures! Will they make a pig’s ear out of it or will they raise the roof? It’ll take brains, bravery and curly-tails to build bridges and forge friendships with each other and those they meet along the way to turnip around.
Get those trotters tapping and those snouts a-squealin’ with catchy songs, dancing and plenty of audience participation for piglets of all ages. There’s snout left to do but book your tickets for this oink-tastic musical!
Spring Sing! 2023 on 22 April at 7.30pm
Award-winning community choir Sing! Bentley Heath returns to The Core with their new show Spring Sing! 2023 – Around The World this April. Expect a variety of well-known hits from top artistes from Sweden to Scotland, Italy to Jamaica, Australia to Africa – not forgetting the UK and the USA – there’ll be something for everyone!
This popular choir is active in the community and as always will be raising much-needed funds for Parkinson’s UK & Solihull SOLO as well as raising spirits across the borough. A new CD recently recorded at Peter Gabriel’s studio will be on sale on the night as well as the annual charity raffle with a wide range of great prizes kindly donated by local businesses. This concert is proudly sponsored by MPA Financial Management in Henley
This fun night of music is suitable for all ages.
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