Queen Elizabeth II herself cut the ribbon at the official opening of Symphony Hall in Birmingham in 1991, and since then, this world-class auditorium has seen the likes of conductor Sir Simon Rattle and Spanish tenor José Carreras grace its stage. Critics instantly declared the stunning 2,262-seat concert venue not only the finest in the United Kingdom, but also among the best globally.
Paying homage to some of the great concert halls of the 19th century, such as Vienna’s Musikverein, Symphony Hall features a traditional ‘shoebox’ shape, warm wooden tones, rich reds and classical curves. The result combines old-world luxury with modern, state-of-the-art design. The acoustics of the auditorium are so painstakingly fine-tuned and advanced that when someone drops a pin on the stage – yes, they’ve actually tested it – you can hear the sound from anywhere in the hall.
Symphony Hall is also home to a magnificent handcrafted mechanical-action organ. With more than 6,000 pipes and standing almost 20 metres tall, this spectacular instrument will delight both the eyes and the ears of lucky concertgoers. Along with organ recitals, the venue presents a year-round program of classical concerts, jazz, blues, rock, folk and pop as well as comedy, spoken-word and dance performances. Once a month, guides conduct tours of Symphony Hall, during which you’ll go backstage and learn about the fascinating acoustic innovations of this much-loved arts and culture venue.
Nearby attractions include Birmingham Town Hall, a must-visit for its magnificent Roman Revival architecture. Also, don’t miss the elegant 18th-century Birmingham Cathedral, just a short walk from the town hall. All three attractions are within easy walking distance of Birmingham New Street train station.