From my Spectator review today of Richard Bratby’s new centennial history of the CBSO:
Those who conduct the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra may not be aware that musicians fill in a form after they leave marking them out of ten, sometimes with an acerbic comment on their performance. Industrial democracy is alive and well in the West Midlands, along with a Red Robbo urge to biff the bosses, as Richard Bratby’s centennial history of the CBSO entertainingly reveals.
Democracy can foster great leaders and, in this sphere, the CBSO is the envy of the world. Three of its last four chief conductors, chosen by the players, have gone on to the highest peaks — Simon Rattle to the Berlin Philharmonic, Andris Nelsons to Boston and Leipzig, and Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla to the forefront of a new wave of women conductors who are wresting the baton away from male grip….
Read on here.