Welcome to the 2012 BBC Proms. With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, this summer promises to be unlike any other, and as such we are very pleased to be part of the London 2012 Festival.
Over eight weeks the Proms welcomes a truly international line-up of leading orchestras, conductors and soloists from the UK and around the world. Every concert is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and online, and many of them will be televised on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four.
From Daniel Barenboim to Wallace & Gromit, we once again look forward to welcoming the world’s greatest artists to a festival where there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Roger Wright, Director, BBC Proms
Season at a glance
- The West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, with its co-founder and conductor Daniel Barenboim, gives a complete Beethoven symphony cycle, culminating in the Ninth Symphony on the opening night of the London Olympics. The concerts also include major works by Pierre Boulez. It is the first time a non-BBC orchestra has ever been resident at the Proms.
- Four British conductors ‘pass the baton’ on the opening night of the 2012 Proms: Martyn Brabbins, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner and Sir Roger Norrington.
- Two world-renowned opera singers open and close the season: Bryn Terfel on the First Night and Joseph Calleja on the Last Night.
- For the first time ever, both the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra give two performances each during one season.
- This year’s Children’s Prom launches the audience into the wonderful world of Wallace & Gromit with the help of Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra.
- There are six major opera performances: London’s two main opera companies, ENO and the Royal Opera, both perform complete operas for the first time in the same season.
- BBC Radio 4’s iconic programme Desert Island Discs celebrates its 70th birthday with its first Prom, presented live from the stage by Kirsty Young.
- John Wilson returns to conduct two Proms: his first complete musical at the festival, My Fair Lady, and a Broadway gala.
- Youth is a major focus, with performances by many of the national youth musical organisations of the UK.
- There are 17 new commissions in 2012, with a further five world premieres and 14 other UK and London premieres, including versions of music by Mendelssohn and Gabrieli, previously unheard in the UK.
- We celebrate 150 years since the births of Debussy and Delius with works by both composers running throughout the season.
- For the first time since 1914 the work of Ivor Novello is performed, in a Late Night Prom led by Sir Mark Elder and narrated by Simon Callow.
- We mark the centenary of John Cage with an all Cage concert hosted by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and 10 short BBC commissions to be downloaded from the Proms website.
- Four living British composer birthdays are celebrated in 2012: Oliver Knussen and Simon Bainbridge at 60 and Hugh Wood and Alexander Goehr at 80.
- John Adams conducts his own music in two Proms: his groundbreaking opera, Nixon in China, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; and his City Noir, with an orchestra of students from the Juilliard School in New York and the Royal Academy of Music in London.
- Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard is given its first complete performance at the Proms.
- Major British choral works include Elgar’s The Apostles and the Proms premiere of Howells’s Hymnus Paradisi.
- In the first ever free Late Night Prom, Le Concert Spirituel performs Handel’s Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.
- The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Manze, offers a rare opportunity to hear Vaughan Williams’s Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 and 6 all in one concert (14 August).
- The world premiere of Bob Chilcott’s The Angry Planet is the culmination of a major youth singing programme, bringing together The Bach Choir, the BBC Singers and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain with children from several London schools.
- Conductors appearing more than once during the season include: Daniel Barenboim, Jirˇí B ˇ elohlávek, Martyn Brabbins,Riccardo Chailly, Nicholas Collon, Sir Mark Elder, Thierry Fischer, Edward Gardner, Bernard Haitink, Juanjo Mena, Sir Roger Norrington, Vasily Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles and John Wilson.
- Soloists include mezzo-sopranos Alice Coote and Sarah Connolly, violinists Nicola Benedetti, Tasmin Little, Christian Tetzlaff and Nikolaj Znaider, and pianists Yefim Bronfman, Imogen Cooper, Nelson Freire and Murray Perahia.
- Debuts by visiting orchestras and ensembles include the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Symphony, L’Arpeggiata, Le Concert Spirituel, the Kronos Quartet and the Escher Quartet.
- BBC Radio 3 World Routes Academy returns for the third consecutive year, featuring the 20-year-old Colombian accordionist José Hernando Arias Noguera and his mentor, Egidio Cuadrado.
- Eight Monday-lunchtime Proms Chamber Music recitals at Cadogan Hall include Jennifer Pike, Alice Coote, the Nash Ensemble, Tenebrae and a Proms debut for L’Arpeggiata.
- Four Proms Saturday Matinee concerts at Cadogan Hall include two early music and two contemporary programmes.
- BBC Proms are all broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and in HD sound via the website at bbc.co.uk/radio3.
- All Proms broadcasts are available to listen again for seven days after broadcast at bbc.co.uk/proms.
- Performances, interviews, discussions and features are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and online throughout the season.
- Proms broadcasts on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC HD throughout the season, with BBC Two and BBC HD maintaining a schedule of weekly Proms on Saturdays and BBC Four a weekly Thursday/Friday pattern.
- Tickets go on sale from 9.00am on Saturday 12 May via bbc.co.uk/proms, by telephone on 0845 401 5040 or in person at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Promming tickets in 2012 are £5 for the seventh year running.
- For the first time, seats are half-price for under-18s for all Proms concerts across the season (except for the Last Night).