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They are versatile, adventurous, and drawn from the local area.

Letter of recommendation



The work of the Birmingham Chamber Orchestra under the directorship of Martin Leigh remains as exciting as ever.

This performance of Verdi's Rigoletto was of necessity staged without scenery or costume, which some may think would reduce it to mere melodrama with music. They would be mistaken. This was even more than opera-in-the-round - it was opera with a complete extra dimension. Barriers between audience and players disappeared; we the spectators became part of the action; the venue became the set.

This was not melodrama with music but vivid music drama dealing with raw human emotion in a direct and compelling manner.

Economical and truly innovative, this is surely the future for the staging of opera.

A member of the Orchestra's Supporters' Scheme



Maggie Cotton writing in the Birmingham Post (24 July 2007)



This opera is laced with familiar tunes, opportunities for underlying solo cello arpeggios, lugubrious clarinet, delightful flute solos and stirring brass. ... the orchestra shone in a truly convincing storm from first woodwind rain flurries to a fulsome downpour as the predictable tragedy unfolded.



From an audience member - May 2007

Shostakovich Chamber Symphony:


The string concert last Saturday was excellent, by the way. The Shostakovitch in particular was genuinely moving. That eerie half quote in the first movement from the 5th symphony chilled me to the bone - the sly terror of the string quartet effectively re-defining the triumphal bombast of the symphony into something much more sinister.

It is a rarity to leave a concert, both moved by what one has heard and stimulated to explore the meaning of a different piece not even on the programme.


By far, the best amateur concert I've ever been to.



A new name but same quality

Christopher Morley writing in the Birmingham Post (28 July 2005)


Last year the Halesowen Chamber Orchestra gave a triumphant mini-tour of concert performances of Mozart's Cosė fan tutte, converting many Black Country music-lovers to a love of opera which they had never experienced before.

Now, re-christened the Birmingham Chamber Orchestra, the enterprise embarks on a series of presentations of Tchaikovsky's romantic masterpiece Eugene Onegin ... Martin Leigh, recently a finalist in the prestigious Leeds Conductors' Competition, conducts a cast of young professionals.




Richard Bratby writing in Metro - July 27 2005:

Opera - Eugene Onegin:


It's an ambitious first concert for the rebranded Birmingham Chamber Orchestra. But young conductor Martin Leigh … has a good track record with big projects, and the young cast look right for the job. When the ingredients of an opera production are this carefully prepared, who needs scenery?

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