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City's vibrant music scene gets ready to open back up
Two of Birmingham's main music venues are reopening following the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions - with the launch of a new name for the charity responsible for them. Birmingham Town Hall will once again welcome members of the public on Sunday 20 June with a performance from Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. And the city's iconic Symphony Hall will follow suit a month later when its brand new spaces open for the first time on Friday 16 July for a weekend of free live music. And the reopening of the venues for live audiences coincides with a new name for the music charity responsible for Symphony Hall and Town Hall. B:Music, previously known as Performances Birmingham Ltd, is said to better reflect the charity's mission of inspiring a love of live music through performance, participation and learning.
Robert Plant will be returning to Birmingham Town Hall in August
A host of artists from Birmingham and the surrounding area will be performing in the city throughout the year, not least West Bromwich-born Robert Plant. The former Led Zeppelin frontman will join Suzi Dian in a new partnership called Saving Grace which will perform at the Town Hall on August 2 in what is hoped to be the first non-socially distanced performance after the government postponed the ending of its roadmap till July 19. Robert said: "These two majestic venues are such an inspiration, not only to play in, but to enjoy the amazing mix of artists passing through. From the mid-1960s and the American Folk Blues packages with Sonny Boy, Son House and Bukka White, right through to John Prine and Lucinda Williams, an evening at these venues is a remarkable adventure for artists and audience alike."
The Town Hall actually reopens to the public on June 20 when Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, one of the world's foremost new music ensembles, performs Past the Stars featuring pieces by Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Param Vir. Symphony Hall then opens its doors again on July 16 for a weekend of free live music featuring BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 Xhosa Cole, Europe's finest female a cappella quintet Black Voices, and pop sensation Tom Aspaul. Birmingham-based singer-songwriter Relley C, who competed in two series of The X-Factor, will also be performing new music over the weekend in partnership with Girl Grind UK. Relley C said: "It feels like forever since I was last on stage, performing with a live band. So, as you can imagine, I'm very excited that my first show in over a year will be held at Symphony Hall for Girl Grind and B:Music."
Pianist and vocalist Reuben James. Credit Leleita Mckill
Other highlights across B:Music's venues this summer include the first ever B:Jazz Fest, in partnership with Jazz FM, from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 August. It features Birmingham-born pianist and singer Reuben James who said it would feel "totally surreal" to be performing live again.