Saturday 08 Mar 2014
The 115th season of BBC Proms continues to bring the world's best classical music to increasingly wide audiences, and remains one of the best value-for-money experiences anywhere.
For the first time there are 100 concerts, including 76 in the Royal Albert Hall, 19 chamber music concerts at Cadogan Hall, and five BBC Proms in the Park events around the country on the Last Night. This is 12 more concerts than in 2008. There are a further 70 Proms Plus events – talks, workshops, films, free performances and activities – offering extra context and insight to audiences on every one of the 58 days of the season.
From the world's best-known classical music to world premieres of specially-commissioned new work; from complete operas and large-scale choral works to intimate chamber music; from music from the Court of Henry VIII to folk music of India; from celebrations of the rich choral tradition of Cambridge University to the iconic film musicals of MGM; and from a solo organ recital to massive outdoor celebrations on the Last Night – the range of music and events continues to be broad and ambitious.
Along with many of the UK's leading orchestras, and a glittering array of visiting ensembles – from Amsterdam to Zurich (taking in Budapest, Dresden, Leipzig, Lyons and Vienna along the way) – many of the world's most celebrated artists perform. These range from pianists Lang Lang and Martha Argerich to soprano Dawn Upshaw, violinists Joshua Bell and Gidon Kremer to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as well as such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Chailly, William Christie, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta and Sir Charles Mackerras, to name but a few.
They join an up-and-coming generation of artists who promise a vibrant future for classical music. BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists are at the heart of the season as the scheme marks its 10th anniversary. There are debuts for a host of acclaimed young conductors, as well as a strong complement of ensembles featuring young artists – the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the Chamber Choir from Chetham's School of Music, as well as massed youth choruses gathered for Handel's Messiah and a celebration of Cambridge University's 800th anniversary with college choirs.
Building on the success of the record-breaking BBC Proms season in 2008 – the first under the direction of Roger Wright – there are major festival days and big weekends throughout the season. Among the highlights are Indian Voices day, culminating in the first Bollywood Prom; Multiple Pianos day; Creation day; 10th anniversary weekend celebrations for Radio 3's New Generation Artists; and Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, as well as a weekend of concerts celebrating three towering figures of English music who died 75 years ago – Delius, Elgar and Holst.
Other big events include large-scale performances of Handel's Messiah and Haydn's The Creation; Beethoven's opera Fidelio conducted by Daniel Barenboim; the first Bollywood Prom as part of Indian Voices; Purcell's The Fairy Queen from Glyndebourne; Sir Charles Mackerras conducting Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience; a Late Night Prom featuring The Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma; a 75th birthday celebration of classic MGM film musicals; a Proms debut for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; and Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, his first Prom with a symphony orchestra.
Among the highlights for 2009:
an ambitious 12-concert weekend to mark the 10th anniversary of BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists scheme, plus leading New Generation Artists across the season
more big weekends than ever, with celebrations for the tenth anniversaries of Radio 3's New Generation Artists and Daniel Barenboim's West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, plus a commemorative weekend for Delius, Elgar and Holst, who all died 75 years ago
complete cycles of Stravinsky's ballet music, Tchaikovsky's works for piano and orchestra, Mendelssohn's orchestral symphonies and Respighi's Roman trilogy
the first Bollywood Prom as part of Indian Voices day and a welcome return for Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble
a feast of music for more than one piano in Multiple Pianos day and throughout the season
major celebrations for anniversary composers Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn – Radio 3's Composers of the Year
major celebrations for MGM film musicals, University of Cambridge, Darwin and Henry VIII
first Proms devoted to the Minimalist masters Philip Glass and Michael Nyman
75th-birthday celebrations for two of Britain's leading composers – Sir Harrison Birtwistle and
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
world premieres of new commissions by Unsuk Chin, Ben Foskett, Detlev Glanert, Goldie, John McCabe, Anna Meredith, Michael Nyman, Augusta Read Thomas and Ryan Wigglesworth
Parry's original orchestration of Jerusalem for the Last Night, plus new fanfares written by BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers
more opportunities for audiences to participate, with plenty of free events to join in, including the Free Family Prom in the Royal Albert Hall and an afternoon of activities in Kensington Gardens
more big events aimed at younger audiences, from concerts in the Royal Albert Hall (Evolution! A Darwin-inspired Extravaganza for Kids, a Free Family Prom and a family-orientated matinee as part of Multiple Pianos day), to BBC Proms Family Music Intros and Proms Family Orchestras
new venues for BBC Proms in the Park in Northern Ireland (Hillsborough Castle, County Down) and the North-West of England (Buile Hill, Salford)
"Maestro Cam", offering an expert's insight into the art of conducting, in five televised Proms as part of the extensive broadcast coverage of the BBC Proms on BBC radio, on television and online
daily BBC Proms Plus events move to the newly-refurbished Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall of the Royal College of Music and Proms films return to the Royal Geographical Society.
Summary of the season
Festival Days and Big Weekends
Contributing to the festival spirit, the eight-week season includes big weekends and festival days. Among the weekends are a 12-concert tenth-anniversary celebration for Radio 3's New Generation Artists (29–31 August), and a three-concert weekend for Daniel Barenboim's West–Eastern Divan (21 & 22 August), which also marks its tenth birthday in 2009. There is also a major weekend to commemorate Delius, Elgar and Holst, who all died 75 years ago (25 & 26 July), alongside three festival days devoted to Indian Voices (16 August), Multiple Pianos (9 August) and Creation (18 July).
BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists...
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Radio 3's New Generation Artists scheme, the BBC Proms has gathered more than 50 past and present members for a packed August Bank Holiday weekend of 12 concerts at Cadogan Hall (29–31 August). New Generation Artists are now firmly established as leading international artists, and among the many alumni performing are mezzo-soprano Christine Rice; bassbaritone Jonathan Lemalu; violinists Ilya Gringolts and Alina Ibragimova; violist Lawrence Power; percussionist Colin Currie; pianists Steven Osborne, Simon Trpceski and Llyr Williams; and the Jerusalem and Royal string quartets as well as the Aronowitz Ensemble. New Generation Artists also perform in Proms throughout the season, including such stars as mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and soprano Ailish Tynan on the First Night (17 July) and trumpeter Alison Balsom on the Last Night (12 September).
...and other bright young things
There is also a strong complement of talented ensembles featuring young artists – the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the Chamber Choir of Chetham's School of Music, as well as a large number of youth choirs massing for two performances: a large-scale performance of Handel's Messiah and a celebration of the University of Cambridge's 800th anniversary.
Stephen Hough, who becomes the first pianist to perform the complete works for piano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky in a single Proms season, leads a glittering line-up of artists who have the opportunity to display their range and versatility in more than one concert during the season. They include violinist Joshua Bell, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, cellist Steven Isserlis, piano duo Katia and Marielle Labeque, tenor Mark Padmore and soprano Carolyn Sampson.
BBC performing groups
The BBC's own performing groups – the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers – are the Proms' resident ensembles, providing a vast repertoire between them, with major conductors including David Atherton, Jiri Belohlavek, Martyn Brabbins, Semyon Bychkov, Sir Andrew Davis, Thierry Fischer, Charles Hazlewood, Oliver Knussen, Sir Charles Mackerras, Susanna Malkki, Gianandrea Noseda, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Vassily Sinaisky, Jac van Steen, Osmo Vanska and Ilan Volkov.
Proms debuts for young conductors...
There are Proms debuts for a host of young conductors including Kirill Karabits, Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Séguin, Jun Markl and Ludovic Morlot.
...and for key ensembles
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (18 August), the Michael Nyman Band (25 August) and Stan Tracey and his Orchestra (18 July) are among the ensembles with Proms debuts this season.
A frenzy of fingerwork
There is a feast of music for more than one piano which runs throughout the season, beginning with Poulenc's Concerto for two pianos on the First Night, through seven further concerts. At the heart of this is Multiple Pianos day (9 August), in which 12 pianists join the Britten Sinfonia under Ludovic Morlot, and the BBC Singers and London Sinfonietta under Edward Gardner, for two Proms featuring works for more than one piano with orchestra. The music ranges from well-known classics such as Mozart's Concerto for two pianos, and Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals to the world premiere of a specially-commissioned new piece by Anna Meredith and John Adams's ebullient Grand Pianola Music. There is also a Family Music Intro with the many hands of pianocircus.
Indian Voices and the first Bollywood Prom
A day-long celebration of India's myriad vocal styles ranging from traditional khyal singing to a Bollywood climax in the Royal Albert Hall, with plenty of opportunities for audiences to join in music and dancing workshops in Kensington Gardens and hear free performances of folk musicians from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kerala (16 August).
Evolution and Creation in Darwin's anniversary year
Creation is a thread in the opening weekend, with Haydn's oratorio The Creation followed by Stan Tracey's jazz work Genesis (18 July), while evolution is the inspiration for the spectacular Evolution! A Darwin-inspired Extravaganza for Kids, which is repeated (1 & 2 August).
Composers of the Year
Music by anniversary composers Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn permeates the season as the BBC Proms continues Radio 3's ambitious year celebrating their lives and work. Among the highlights are Purcell's The Fairy Queen from Glyndebourne (21 July); Handel's oratorios Samson (20 August) and Messiah (6 September), as well as the first complete Proms performance of his comic opera Partenope (19 July); Haydn's The Creation (18 July) and symphonies conducted by Osmo Vanska, Mariss Jansons and Nikolaus Harnoncourt; the complete orchestral symphonies of Mendelssohn, as well as his much-loved Octet with members of Daniel Barenboim's West–Eastern Divan Orchestra (21 August); and a concert featuring all four composers, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato (25 August).
There are 12 BBC commissions from composers including Tom Arthurs, Unsuk Chin, Ben Foskett, Detlev Glanert, Goldie, Michael Jarrell, John McCabe, Anna Meredith, Michael Nyman, August Read Thomas and Ryan Wigglesworth. A further 15 key premieres include works by a huge range of leading British and international composers such as Louis Andriessen, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Philip Glass and the late Alfred Schnittke. There is also a significant body of music by important voices of the 20th and 21st centuries, including composers such as Lutosπawski, Zimmermann, Ligeti, Xenakis and Takemitsu.
1934: England at the Crossroads
1934 was the year in which three towering figures of
British music died: Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar and
Gustav Holst are commemorated with a weekend of
events devoted to their music
(25 & 26 July). It was also the year in which two of today's most celebrated British composers were born: Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Their 75th birthdays are celebrated in a dedicated Late Night Prom for each (4 August and 8 September respectively) and large-scale works by both are performed in other Proms, including the central act of Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus (14 August) and the UK premiere of Davies's Violin Concerto No. 2, conducted by the composer (8 September).
All 11 of Stravinsky's ballet scores are played during the season for the first time, as are Tchaikovsky's four works for piano and orchestra – performed for the first time in a single season by one pianist, Stephen Hough. Mendelssohn's five orchestral symphonies are all performed in a single Proms season for the first time – with Symphony No. 1 getting its first Proms performance. Respighi's Roman trilogy gets its first complete outing at the Proms and is performed on consecutive nights (6-8 August), including a first Proms performance of Roman Festivals.
Operas and oratorios
Beethoven's Fidelio (22 August), Purcell's The Fairy Queen (21 July), Handel's Partenope (19 July), Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience (11 August) and the central act of Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus (14 August) provide a rich selection for opera-lovers, while performances of oratorios by Handel (Messiah and Samson – 6 September and 20 August) and Haydn (The Creation – 18 July) bring dramatic choral works.
Late Night Proms
The special atmosphere of the Late Night Proms is
captured in the first Proms devoted to the music of
Philip Glass (12 August) and Michael Nyman (25 August), as
well as the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
(18 August). Other Late Night events include a Mendelssohn and Berg Prom from members of Daniel Barenboim's West–Eastern Divan Orchestra (21 August), motets by J S Bach conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner (28 July), an 80th-birthday tribute to George Crumb by the Nash Ensemble (4 September) and a welcome return to the Proms for the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma (11 September).
Proms Chamber Music
Proms Chamber Music expands from eight to 19 concerts in 2009, with the addition of a packed weekend of 12 concerts devoted to celebrating the tenth anniversary of Radio 3's New Generation Artists scheme (29–31 August). Other highlights include a concert to mark the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Henry VIII (20 July); a recital of French song from mezzo-soprano Susan Graham with pianist Malcolm Martineau (27 July); and a partnership of two distinguished concerto soloists, Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis, with pianist Denes Varjon (24 August).
The Last Night...
The Last Night draws together many of the season's threads – composer anniversary celebrations and New Generation Artists – and, for the first time, BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers are commissioned to write fanfares to link up with the Last Night festivities in Proms in the Park events around the country. The traditional ingredients – Parry's Jerusalem (in his original orchestration), Arne's Rule, Britannia! (in the famous Malcolm Sargent arrangement with soloist), and Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory) – are there. There are also arrangements of Purcell by Proms founder-conductor Henry Wood, and glittering works such as Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, Arnold's A Grand, Grand Overture and more, all led by the BBC Symphony Orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor David Robertson with soloists Sarah Connolly and Alison Balsom (12 September).
Encouraging young people and families to join in is an ever-more important strategy for engaging younger audiences and in 2009 there is more opportunity for everyone – from beginners to skilled amateurs – to play or sing with professional musicians. There are Proms Family Orchestras, the Proms Singing Day (6 September), workshops as part of Family Music Intro during the season, while another ambitious pre-season Proms Out+About promises to take free live classical music into a wide range of communities throughout London (25 June).
...and Proms in the Park
There are two new venues for Proms in the Park: Buile Hill Park in Salford and the grounds of Hillsborough Castle in County Down, Northern Ireland, in addition to Glasgow Green, Glasgow; Hyde Park, London and Singleton Park, Swansea (12 September).
There are more big events than ever for families to enjoy, with a Free Family Prom featuring former BBC Young Musician of the Year and current Radio 3 New Generation Artist, Jennifer Pike (26 July); Evolution! A Darwin-inspired Extravaganza for Kids with CBBC presenters Barney Harwood and Gemma Hunt, plus special guest Sir David Attenborough, which is repeated (1 & 2 August); a Multiple Pianos matinee with a family friendly programme (9 August); and a packed afternoon of free performances and workshops for families in Kensington Gardens as part of Indian Voices day, which culminates in the first Bollywood Prom (16 August).
The BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers' Competition, now in its 11th year, continues to gather momentum and for the first time selected winners have the opportunity to write fanfares for the world-famous Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, part of the link-up with the Proms in the Park celebrations around the country.
With 30 Proms Intros, 16 Proms Literary Festival events, four Proms Composer Portraits, five gatherings of Proms Family Orchestras, seven Proms Family Music Intro events and an outside broadcast of Radio 3's In Tune, all from the newly-refurbished Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall of the Royal College of Music, as well as eight films at the Royal Geographical Society, there are more Proms Plus events than ever. They offer a rich and broad variety of content around the concerts on a daily basis.
Classic Goldie for BBC Two
BBC Two follows Goldie – drum 'n' bass pioneer, poet, graphic artist and hero of BBC Two's Maestro in 2008 – as he writes a short orchestral work for performance in Evolution! A Darwin-inspired Extravaganza for Kids (1 & 2 August).
Broadcasting the Proms
The BBC Proms is available to the widest possible audience via BBC Radio, Television and online. All Proms programmes are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, streamed live online via BBC iPlayer and available on-demand for seven days. Radio 3 provides a rich background of interviews, discussion, performance and features with Proms-related material broadcast throughout the season. BBC Two and BBC Four broadcast a selection of Proms, and five concerts feature a new innovation via red button: "Maestro Cam", offering an expert's insight into the art of conducting.
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