Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

BCMG Biography

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group is one of the world’s foremost new music ensembles. Over three decades, BCMG has developed the music of today for the audiences of tomorrow. The ensemble has commissioned over 170 pieces of music from the world’s finest composers and emerging international talent. Many of the works have been commissioned through its innovative pioneering Sound Investment crowd-funding scheme to which over 500 donors have contributed more than £300,000; many of these works have subsequently found their way into worldwide repertoire. BCMG also supports the next generation of exceptional young composers through its Apprentice Composer in Residence scheme, made possible through its partnership with Sound and Music since 2011. Donghoon Shin is the BCMG Apprentice Composer in Residence for the 2017-2018 season.

BCMG was founded by musicians from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1987, with Sir Simon Rattle as Founding Patron. Since then, BCMG has reached over 10 million people in concert and through broadcasts. The Group performs regularly at CBSO Centre, Symphony Hall and Town Hall Birmingham, Wigmore Hall in London and at the BBC Proms and Aldeburgh Festival. International tours have included visits to the USA (Library of Congress), Mexico, India and venues across France, Germany and Austria. The Group is regularly heard in concert on BBC Radio 3, and has recorded extensively. Recordings include discs of works by Thomas Adès, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Benjamin Britten, and a Grammy Award-nominated recording of Gerald Barry’s opera, The Importance of Being Earnest, for NMC Recordings. Recent releases include Howard Skempton’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a series of recordings devoted to British composers including its Artist-in-Association Oliver Knussen, Julian Anderson and Charlotte Bray (all on NMC) and a disc of the works of Elliott Carter on Ondine, released August 2017.

BCMG’s work both inside and outside the concert hall has earned it many awards and accolades. Over the last decade it has been shortlisted for: ITV’s South Bank Show’s Classical Music Award; the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Ensemble Award and BBC Music Magazine’s Chamber Award. Its long-established Learning and Participation programmes actively engage young people in composing and performing, and have earned BCMG nationwide recognition (in 2016, the Group was highly commended in the Family Arts Festival Awards).

BCMG:
Founding Patron – Sir Simon Rattle
Artists-in-Association – Oliver Knussen; John Woolrich
Artistic Director – Stephan Meier
Chair – Christoph Trestler

BCMG is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.