Our History

A centenary is a landmark year for any organisation. BMS is enormously proud of its 100-year history and of its unbroken record of promoting world-class chamber music and musicians in Belfast.

Twenty-five years ago, to mark BMS’s 75th anniversary, the board published Da Capo, a history of BMS up to that point. It is a fascinating read, but sadly no longer in print – so we have scanned one of the last remaining copies of the book and are delighted to include it on this page.

To celebrate our centenary, we commissioned David Byers, composer, musicologist, writer and broadcaster, to go back to the BMS archives and write his own overview of our contribution to the musical life of the city. Here, he describes each quarter-century – its highs and lows – in four short, fascinating essays.

David also picked out highlights from the archives to illustrate a ‘timeline’ of our 100 years. Notable artists, key events, and some examples of the wider social context of the times are presented here, along with programme details, images, audience memories, and newspaper reviews.

We are also proud to include details of new music, commissioned by BMS, that we have premiered over the years – in some cases with audio clips, with the kind permission of BBC Radio 3.

We hope you enjoy these pages. If you have attended BMS concerts in the past, and would like to add your own recollections to the history, do get in touch.


The BMS – its first quarter century or thereabouts



The BMS – its second quarter century



The BMS – its third quarter century



The BMS – its fourth quarter century