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BBC Proms 2008 
BBC Proms 2008: Pierre Boulez discusses Janáček with Proms Director Roger Wright in the new Proms Plus series. Courtesy of the CSO

BBC Proms 2008

Season at a glance

Update – 17 July 2008: this page has been updated to reflect changes to the details of some of the events.


More events than ever before


Seventy-six concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, more than 70 Proms Plus events, eight Chamber Music Proms at Cadogan Hall and four Proms In The Park events around the country on the last night. Altogether, more than 150 events throughout the eight-week festival.


Firsts at the Proms in 2008


  • Proms Plus, a new extended series of pre-concert events in a single location, the Royal College of Music, for the first time.

  • The first free Prom in the Royal Albert Hall, (London Sinfonietta, Folk Day, 20 July, Prom 4).

  • First Doctor Who Prom (27 July, Prom 13).

  • New Sunday afternoon concert series in the Royal Albert Hall featuring four organ recitals and a piano recital by Lang Lang.

  • Festival days: Folk Day, Stockhausen Day and Bach Day.

  • All televised Proms available to watch online for seven days via the BBC iPlayer for the first time.

  • All BBC Two transmissions offered on BBC HD TV in 5.1 surround sound for the first time.


Composers anniversaries


The BBC Proms 2008 marks 50 years since the death of Ralph Vaughan Williams, the centenaries of Olivier Messiaen and Elliott Carter and the 80th anniversary of the late Karlheinz Stockhausen.


British music


Opportunities to hear Vaughan Williams's music in context – with works by his teachers, friends and fellow students, including George Butterworth, Gerald Finzi, Gustav Holst, Ethel Smyth and Grace Williams.


Great artists return


Murray Perahia and Nigel Kennedy return to the Proms after 20 years. Perahia performs Mozart and Kennedy plays Elgar and gives a Late Night Prom with his jazz quintet, NKQ.


The world's finest orchestras


Opportunities to hear the world's leading orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Bernard Haitink, Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle, New York Philharmonic with Lorin Maazel and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra with Gustavo Dudamel.


Festival days


Enter into the festival spirit with day-long celebrations: Stockhausen Day, Bach Day and Folk Day.


New music


Eleven BBC commissions and eight UK premieres, including: Michael Berkeley, Chen Yi, Kenneth Hesketh, Simon Holt, Stuart MacRae, Anna Meredith, Gwilym Simcock, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steven Stucky, Huw Watkins and Jason Yarde (world premieres) and Elliott Carter, Peter Eötvös, Jonathan Harvey, Anders Hillborg, Magnus Lindberg and Sir John Tavener (UK premieres) and Mark-Anthony Turnage (European premiere).


Complete Rachmaninov works for piano and orchestra


Complete Rachmaninov works for piano and orchestra for the first time at the BBC Proms since 1958, performed by Boris Berezovsky, Stephen Hough, Olga Kern, Nikolai Lugansky and Yevgeny Sudbin.


Proms debuts


Debuts at the BBC Proms in 2008 include: Julia Fischer (violin); Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor); Nishat Khan (sitar); Christophe Rousset (harpsichord/director); Yegeny Sudbin (piano); Jordi Savall (bass viol/viola da gamba); and Carolin Widmann (violin).


Radio 3 New Generation Artists


Performances by Radio 3 New Generation Artists including the Aronowitz Ensemble, Sharon Bezaly, Elizabeth Watts and the first jazz artist on the scheme, Gwilym Simcock, who premieres his first BBC commission.


Three short operas


Concert performances of three rarely heard short operas – Puccini's Il Tabarro, Janáček's Osud and Rimsky-Korsakov's Kashchey The Immortal.


Family events


Family fun on offer at Folk Day with Proms Folk Family Orchestra, Proms Folk Family Chorus and Proms Folk In The Park.


Join Freema Agyeman for the first Doctor Who Prom – a family concert featuring music from the BBC's Doctor Who series and a selection of classical favourites with a strong flavour of time and space.


Plus Proms Family Orchestra, Family Music Intro and Out+About – this year across London in some unusual locations.


Seats for under-16s are half price (not including the last night).


Late Night Proms


Ten Late Night Proms in 2008 featuring the Tallis Scholars, The King's Singers, Nigel Kennedy and his quintet NKQ, the London Sinfonietta, Daniel Barenboim and members of his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Jian Wang.


BBC Proms Chamber Music


Proms Chamber Music continues at Cadogan Hall in 2008 with eight Monday lunchtime concerts throughout the season.


The first and last nights


The BBC Symphony Orchestra is joined by its Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek to open the 2008 season and Sir Roger Norrington conducts the last night for the first time.


More ways to watch and listen than ever


The BBC Proms is available to the widest possible audience via BBC radio, television and online. Every Prom is broadcast live on Radio 3, streamed live online via BBC iPlayer and available on-demand for seven days.


There are more Proms-related programmes than ever on Radio 3 in 2008.


For the first time there is a consistent pattern of broadcasts on TV with more than ever on BBC Two, bringing together many of the season's big events in primetime Saturday night broadcasts, in addition to the regular weekly broadcasts on BBC Four.


Also for the first time all televised Proms are available to watch on demand for seven days via the BBC iPlayer and many are on BBC HD TV.



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