Breaking: big hole opens in Brum

Breaking: big hole opens in Brum


norman lebrecht

May 05, 2015

Andrew Jowett, who has run Birmingham’s Symphony Hall since it opened – and in tandem with the historic Town Hall – has just announced his retirement. He has been in the job for 28 years and created the most efficient and focused pair of concert venues in the country, with regular visits from the world’s great artists and orchestras.

Andrew Jowett said today: ‘It has been an enormous privilege to have been part of the team which created Symphony Hall – the greatest concert hall to be built in the 20th century – and then to re-open and manage Birmingham’s historic Town Hall following its £5million renovation in 2007.’

It will be a helluva job to fill.

andrew jowett


Career note:

Andrew Jowett, OBE

Andrew Jowett has worked in the arts for over 30 years. On graduation from the University of Salford, he was appointed Assistant General Manager at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. From 1979-1981 Andrew was Director of Darlington Civic Theatre, and from 1982-1988 he was Director of the Arts Centre, University of Warwick. Since 1989 Andrew has been Director of Symphony Hall, Birmingham and is responsible for its artistic programming, operation, and management. From 2007 onwards, Symphony Hall and Town Hall Birmingham have been managed together under the company Performances Birmingham Limited and Andrew is now Chief Executive of PBL as well as retaining overall directorial responsibility for Town Hall & Symphony Hall.

Andrew is Chair of the British Association of Concert Halls, a former Council Member and Vice President of UK Theatre Association, and Chair of the Advisory Board for the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton. He is a Trustee of the Young Musicians Trust, a Trustee of the Elgar Birthplace Foundation and Trustee of the Brant International Piano Competition. He is also a Member of the International Society for the Performing Arts and a Founding Member of the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO). Andrew is an Honorary Fellow of Birmingham City University and is a recipient of the Birmingham Civic Society Gold Medal, which is awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to life in the city. In June 2012 he was awarded the OBE in HM The Queen’s  Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours for services to music.




  • Halldor says:

    The sad thing is that he’s leaving the venue at a very low ebb – after a wave of redundancies and pay-cuts has seen Symphony Hall stripped of almost all its most experienced staff below senior level, with whole departments (including the all-important technical and front of house teams, who make the place function) gutted. Morale is at rock-bottom, and whoever succeeds him will face grave financial problems. Colleagues in Birmingham tell me that the feeling there is that that had he retired – as it was rumoured at the time that he would – during the hall’s 21st Anniversary season, he’d have left with his legacy intact. Though none but a churl would dispute the scale of his achievement or his personal charm and expertise.

  • Peter Donohoe says:

    And what a fantastic job Andrew has done over those years! My memory goes back to his days at Warwick University Arts Centre, which under Andrew’s directorship was (and stil is) one of the country’s most rewarding venues, both to work at and to listen in. That was before the building of Symphony Hall, at which Andrew Jowett has been a director beyond compare. He will, of course, be missed, and he will be a difficult act to follow, but I send him my congratulations on his invaluable contribution to the arts – a wonderful lifetime’s achievement.

  • john humphreys says:

    A man of enormous kindness and enthusiasm – I remember, almost as if yesterday Andrew excitedly taking me around the shell of Symphony Hall during construction. A magnificent hall with as an exciting a concert programme as one could find anywhere (though not all agree as to its acoustic virtues) and one of the reasons why we have decided to live permanently in Birmingham. Yes, he will be a hard act to follow…..

  • Stweart says:

    It’s said that nobody is irreplaceable. But to find someone of Andrew’s ability his modesty approachability and good humour in difficult situations as well as the good times –
    I wonder !
    Thank you Andrew from many many people for many years.! !
    We’ll raise a glass !