Thursday 27 Nov 2014
A range of free pre-concert events to "inform, educate and entertain" music-lovers in true BBC style are given on every one of the festival's 58 days at the Royal College of Music.
Proms Plus comprises Music Intros, Proms Intros, Family Music Intros, Composer Portraits, Proms Family Orchestra and Chorus events and the Proms Literary Festival, all designed to enhance the Proms experience and provide access points to the music for wide audiences.
Many are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, giving listeners at home extra insight into the artists, music and strands of the season.
There is a new series of Music Intros, aimed at adults who may be attending for the first time. These are jargon-free workshops illustrated with live music, exploring the stories and music of the concerts they precede.
They complement the hugely successful Proms Family Music Intros, designed to introduce children and their families to live classical music for the first time.
There are also 22 Proms Intros which feature composers, musicians and other experts in conversation about the music being performed in the concert hall that evening.
Among the contributors are composers Stephen Sondheim and Simon Holt, conductors Stéphane Denève, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Valery Gergiev, actor and comedian John Bird and Beethoven biographer John Suchet.
Colin Matthews (28 July), Huw Watkins (17 August), James Dillon (19 August) and Tansy Davies (8 September) – each of whom has a work premiered in the same day's Prom at the Royal Albert Hall – are the subjects of this year's Composer Portraits, also part of Proms Plus.
Alongside performances of their chamber music by musicians from some of the UK's leading conservatories, the composers will appear in conversation with a Radio 3 presenter. The events are broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3.
An array of literary figures explore the Proms season and offer further insight into the relationship between writers and composers, music and literature in this series of 16 Proms Literary Festival events, also broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Participants include poet and critic Tom Paulin; novelist Tom Holland; Peter Flannery on Chekhov; novelist Howard Jacobson and scholar Mary Beard on the inspirational influence of famous love affairs; James MacMillan and poet Michael Symmons Roberts on poetry and the divine; and Jonathan Myerson celebrating the work of Boris Pasternak.
Seats for all concerts are half price to under-16s and Proms Plus offers lots of ways for kids and families to get involved.
Seven Family Music Intros offer dynamic, participatory workshops, revealing the stories and highlights of the concerts that they precede.
There are a further six Proms Family Orchestra events inviting family members of all ages and abilities to sit alongside professional musicians and singers to make music.
For the first time, BBC Proms is teaming up with the Royal College of Music Learning programme RCM SPARKS to offer a whole programme of different musical activities for 6- to 18-year-olds throughout the season.
Families in Cornwall are invited to join London families to perform a new BBC commission from Graham Fitkin as part of an ambitious Family Orchestra and Chorus event with the BBC Concert Orchestra on Bank Holiday Monday (30 August). This builds on the success of last year's project which put a Proms Family Orchestra at the heart of a Royal Albert Hall Proms concert for the first time, when families from Salford and London joined the BBC Philharmonic in the now annual Free Prom.
In the year when the BBC is celebrating opera on television and radio, the BBC Proms is inviting the public to "Come and Sing" in several special events.
Over-16s can join the Welsh National Opera Chorus to sing extracts from Wagner's great masterpiece The Mastersingers Of Nuremberg (17 July) and there's a special pre-concert event on the Last Night of the Proms with Mary King leading the singing of operatic highlights (11 September).
There is also a chance to sing songs from the movies in Keith Lockhart's August Bank Holiday Monday Prom, when he leads a medley entitled You Must Remember This – A Cinematic Sing- Along during the concert itself (30 August).
The Last Night of the Proms has always encouraged audience participation and this year people in parks around the country will be encouraged to join the largest-ever operatic chorus and join in mass singing of Wagner's Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin and You'll Never Walk Alone from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel (11 September).
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