Conservatoire Folk Ensemble to arrive at Birmingham New Street Station

The opening of Archived. at Parkside Platform coincides with a unique performance at Birmingham New Street Station. The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble will be performing on a custom-built stage just 80m from the gallery, under the main departure boards at the station.

The performance and the exhibition are part of a city-wide programme of events that celebrates the reopening of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire at its city centre site.

The ensemble will perform four sets during the morning and evening rush hour to entertain thousands of commuters that travel through the station every day. The event is set to coincide with the first open day at the brand-new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and will welcome visitors to the city from across the country.

Who are the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble 3Conservatoire Folk Ensemble?

Founded in 1997, the ensemble is made up of students and alumni from the Conservatoire and performs at festivals across the country.

Vibrant, energetic and loud, the 50-piece ensemble is a collection of classically trained musicians who come together to perform folk songs with a twist. This is folk music like you’ve never heard it before.

The ensemble includes 15 horns, four cellos, five percussionists, five electric guitars, fiddles, flutes, clarinets, a double-bass, an electric bass, euphonium, acoustic guitars, octave mandola’s and a harp – with many of the performers also being vocalists.

The group defies all expectations of what a classically trained ensemble should be. Colourfully dressed and wearing bright face paint, the ensemble bounces around the stage with an infectious energy that fills the audience with excitement.

What is folk music?

 Traditionally, folk music is passed down aurally and in this way differs from classical or pop music which is often recorded or written down. Because of this, over hundreds of years folk songs have developed differently in different regions and become a custom in many communities.

Folk songs often have a narrative; telling a story or commemorating a major event. These stories are specific to the community that they are performed in and often help foster a sense of civic pride.

Because folk music developed differently in different cultures it is extremely diverse and can feature a whole range of instruments.

In the twentieth century there were two folk revivals that influenced how we understand folk music today. In the mid-twentieth century, folk music was a major part of countercultures and politically-engaged groups. Folk music entered the mainstream and became popular due to artists including Bob Dylan and Donovan.

Where to see the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble?


As well as performing at Birmingham New Street Station on 25th January 2018, the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble perform all over the country. For upcoming tour dates visit

Also check out their 2017 album, Painted, which features 10 of the ensembles most iconic tracks.

The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble will be performing at 8.30 am, 9.15 am, 4.30 pm and 5.15 pm at Birmingham New Street Station on 25th January 2018.

 For more information please visit

 For information on upcoming Open Days at Birmingham City University please visit

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