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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Broadway glitz, international and a golden age of British talent for BBC Proms 2010

BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall © BBC/Chris Christodoulou

Mahler's gargantuan Symphony No. 8 with more than 500 musicians, Wagner's The Mastersingers Of Nuremberg with Bryn Terfel and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra with Placido Domingo are the first three concerts of the 2010 BBC Proms and set the festival spirit for the 116th season, which takes place from Friday 16 July to Saturday 11 September.

Among the other highlights of the two-month festival are two glittering events that bring Broadway to the Proms, one celebrating Stephen Sondheim and the other the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

There are also major Proms debut concerts for jazz star Jamie Cullum, violinist Nicola Benedetti and the legendary band Penguin Cafe.

A day of events devoted to Proms founder-conductor Henry Wood includes a recreation of the Last Night of the Proms from 1910 – the Free Prom this year – making this the first season in history to include two Last Nights.

The much-loved Proms tradition of the Beethoven Night is back and the first complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle to be given by a single pianist in any Proms season is undertaken by British pianist Paul Lewis.

There are major premieres for 19 living British composers, almost double the number represented in recent decades. This reflects the vibrancy of the composing talent on the current British scene and forms part of the season's tribute to Henry Wood, who was a great champion both of his compatriots and of new works.

The 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth brings a range of his music to the season, including performances of six symphonies from such great orchestral partnerships as Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev with the hand-picked players of the World Orchestra for Peace.

A complete cycle of Schumann symphonies is the centrepiece of the Proms bicentenary celebrations for that composer, while pianist Maria João Pires returns to the Proms for the first time in more than a decade for a Late Night solo recital of Chopin Nocturnes in honour of his 200th anniversary.

Other season strands include focuses on the music of Parry and Scriabin, and a series of concerts inspired by Venice, which culminates in a 400th-anniversary performance of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Proms Saturday Matinees return to Cadogan Hall, and explore how composers of today can illuminate the work of their predecessors.

International visiting orchestras and ensembles, more than 20 in number, come from the USA, Australia and all corners of Europe and include the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Minnesota Orchestra with Osmo Vänskä, the Sydney Symphony with Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Orchestre National de France with Daniele Gatti, and the Russian National Orchestra with Mikhail Pletnev.

Star soloists returning to the Proms include sopranos Renée Fleming and Karita Mattila; violinists Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowicz and Leonidas Kavakos; and pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes, Richard Goode and Hélène Grimaud.

Featured artists include Bryn Terfel, violinist Julia Fischer, violist Maxim Rysanov and pianist Lars Vogt, and among the leading conductors giving two or more Proms with different orchestras are Semyon Bychkov, Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Edward Gardner, Valery Gergiev and Sir Simon Rattle.

The Doctor Who Prom returns after its success in 2008 for two concerts, bringing the new Time Lord, Matt Smith, to the Proms for the first time.

A Children's Prom on August Bank Holiday Monday and a rich programme of participatory activities for families as part of Proms Plus (the daily pre-concert events at the Royal College of Music) build on the Proms tradition of engaging new and young audiences. Last year more than 5,000 children attended their first Prom and tickets continue to be half-price for under-16s.

Katie Derham introduces nine concerts on BBC Two and HD, including the First and Last Nights and every Saturday night during the season.

BBC Four shows Proms every Thursday and Friday, when enhanced coverage includes behind-the-scenes footage of the orchestras rehearsing and insights from musicians.

BBC Three airs its first Proms concert when it shows the Doctor Who Prom, and technical innovations online (such as Maestro Cam and the new Players' Commentary service, along with expert audio commentary – available for selected Proms via the red button) enhance the whole experience.

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts the Proms live and offers a rich programme of talks, interviews, performances and features about the music throughout the season.

The Proms website (bbc.co.uk/proms) provides full information about the events, comprehensive programme notes for every concert, and behind-the-scenes blogs.

Proms broadcasts are also streamed live online and are available to listen or watch again online for seven days.

Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms and Controller BBC Radio 3, says: "Henry Wood believed in making the best-quality classical music available to the widest possible audience and that ambition remains at the heart of the Proms today.

"Two months of outstanding and wide-ranging performances by a glittering array of artists and orchestras – with ticket prices frozen for another year, and broadcast more extensively than ever across BBC radio, television and online – show that quality and access still drive the Proms."

The BBC Proms Guide, published on Friday 23 April, contains full details of the complete programme of concerts, along with articles about the music and artists.

Full details are now on the Proms website: bbc.co.uk/proms.

Booking opens at 8am on Tuesday 4 May: online at bbc.co.uk/proms, by telephone on 0845 401 5040 and in person at the Royal Albert Hall.

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