Each month we talk to a new character in town to discuss living and working in the city. This month it’s Chris Baldock from Town Hall and Symphony Hall (THSH)
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Chris Baldock, director of performances with Town Hall and Symphony Hall, two of the UK’s most prestigious concert halls in Birmingham.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I live in Solihull and drive to the city centre via leafy Hall Green and Moseley.
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
I usually travel in just outside rush hour, which makes for a pleasant journey.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
It really is fantastic. We’re fortunate to be based in the heart of the Heart of England meaning great transport links, places to eat and it is central for business. I’ve had the pleasure of working in Birmingham for 22 years now and the city centre is unrecognisable in parts compared to how it looked in 1990.
IKON Gallery, housed in a wonderful former Victorian school in Brindleyplace, is a lovely place to unwind over a good coffee. There are plenty of superb independent coffee shops dotted around the city centre too – it’s just a case of having the time to visit them all.
The nature of the job means I meet and welcome a wide range of artists, guests, supporters and colleagues from other music and arts organisations on a regular basis, often before or after a concert, so Strada restaurant at the ICC is both convenient and good value for money. Otherwise, I’d recommend Simpson’s for a treat.
Having the canal network on our doorstep is a really terrific addition to working in the city centre – it’s nice to be able to step out of the building and stroll along towpaths in relative peace, connecting with the past and taking time out away from the office.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
Although it’s not quite part of Birmingham, because I live in Solihull I tend to spend a fair amount of time there. John Lewis has a particular allure. Otherwise, Moseley has a good choice of dining spots and the park and pool there is a particularly lovely draw for walking.
I’m not much of a drinker and as most of our business is conducted in the evenings, I generally spend time in the Director’s Lounge at Symphony Hall or the Hansom Suite at Town Hall, welcoming guests and meeting artists.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
Birmingham tends to hide its light under a bushel, so perhaps we can do more to bring first time visitors to the city so they see for themselves how it has improved in many ways. I’ve always found that once people are here and experience a concert at Symphony Hall, take in the Jewellery Quarter, visit Town Hall or BMAG, they really do change their opinions and perceptions. We have a lot to be proud of.