Musically vibrant, the UK's second largest city is not only the birthplace of heavy metal. Local resident Edward Elgar had his Dream of Gerontius premièred here in 1900, and he helped to establish the city as a serious musical force in the early twentieth century. It has gone from strength to strength in recent decades.
Since 1991, Birmingham has been home to Symphony Hall, an internationally lauded concert hall with one of the finest acoustics worldwide. Its premier orchestra is the City of Birminigham Symphony Orchestra, which has been flourishing especially since Sir Simon Rattle's time in charge from 1980 to 1998, and subsequently under Sakari Oramo and lately Andris Nelsons. The CBSO are particularly renowned for their performances of the late Romantic repertoire.
Equally exciting is the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, who work with many of the UK's top composers and currently have Oliver Knussen and John Woolrich as Artists-in-Association. Their varied programme often includes well-programmed family events, and tickets are often on sale at low prices.
The Birmingham Hippodrome also hosts a range of events, being home to Birmingham Royal Ballet and regularly welcoming various international opera companies. Birmingham Town Hall also hosts a varied range of recitals, including both orchestral concerts and chamber music.
With such a varied musical life, and being so easy to get to from just about anywhere, Birmingham is a hugely important part of the UK music scene which richly rewards exploration.