Final countdown to the 2012 BBC Proms
Controller, Radio 3
Roger Wright at the Royal Albert Hall
The 118th season of BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts is about to begin and, thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded through the licence fee, the artistic quality remains exceptional and ticket prices as low as ever.
The vision of those first Proms in 1895 was to bring the best classical music to the largest possible audience and it remains true today. However the way in which that vision is delivered has changed because of technology which now allows audiences to hear the concerts when they want and see so many on TV; because of online listening that audience goes far beyond the UK, and this year our international audiences can hear the Radio 3 broadcasts in HD sound for the first time this summer.
It promises to be a summer like no other with so much focus on London, and I am really looking forward to this year's Proms more than any other I've known. I'm delighted that the response to the events has been so positive and that there has been a real sense of the scale and ambition of our plans. I'm pleased too that the Proms forms such a major part of the London 2012 festival.
As with any Proms festival, there will be some unexpected challenges ahead. Please follow the Proms website for the most up-to-date information about the concerts and other information about the festival in general.
In the next 24 hours I will have heard rehearsals and/or performances including Debussy's masterpiece Pelleas and Melisande, Lerner & Loewe's great musical set in London, My Fair Lady, and the all-British opening night with four conductors involved in a baton relay! With Daniel Barenboim and his Beethoven symphony cycle, a celebration of Delius, the two London opera houses performing Berlioz and Britten, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics each giving two concerts, and so much more, I hope that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
But the question on everyone's lips remains ... Will Wallace have finished his BBC commission on time? Fingers crossed. Not long to wait to find out!
PS: In recent years I have very much enjoyed answering your questions about any aspect of the BBC Proms. I look forward again to your questions which I will try to answer throughout the festival. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'Ask the Director' to submit a question about the Proms this season.
Roger Wright is Controller, BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms