BBC Proms 2013 season launches

From Wagner’s Ring Cycle to a celebration of urban music, it is a festival where there is something for everyone to enjoy."Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms and Controller BBC Radio 3
Date: 18.04.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.15
Marin Alsop’s Last Night, Barenboim’s Ring Cycle and the return of Nigel Kennedy and Doctor Who in the biggest ever broadcast Proms festival.

Details of the 2013 BBC Proms are announced today, revealing the wide-ranging programme of events planned for its 119th season. Opening at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 July 2013, the festival promises two months of many of the world’s greatest artists, composers, orchestras and ensembles across 92 concerts including four Last Night celebrations around the UK.

Daniel Barenboim will conduct the first ever complete Wagner Ring Cycle at the Proms in one summer – this also marks his first performance of a Wagner opera in the UK. His Staatskapelle Berlin will be joined by leading Wagner interpreters including Nina Stemme and Bryn Terfel (22–28 July). With Promming tickets remaining at £5 for the eighth year running, audiences will be able to attend the complete Ring Cycle for just £20.

Marin Alsop makes Proms history by becoming the first woman to conduct the world-famous Last Night of the Proms. She will be joined by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and British violinist Nigel Kennedy, who appears earlier in the festival with a performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a piece for which he is world-renowned.

Celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birth continue with performances of three of his operas given by British orchestras and leading interpreters of his work: Tristan and Isolde with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Semyon Bychkov, Tannhäuser with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Donald Runnicles, and Parsifal with the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder.

Fellow bicentenarian Giuseppe Verdi is celebrated with performances by two Italian orchestras, and the centenaries of two of the pre-eminent composers of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten and Witold Lutosławski, are marked across 18 Proms.

Throughout the festival there will be a complete Tchaikovsky symphony cycle and a selection of some of the more rarely performed piano concertos including Malcolm Arnold’s Concerto for two pianos (three hands), Glazunov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Stravinsky’s Concerto for piano and wind instruments.

The BBC’s Doctor Who celebrates 50 years on our screens with his third visit to the Proms while there are firsts with an Urban Classic Prom featuring Fazer, Laura Mvula and Maverick Sabre and a 6 Music Prom with Cerys Matthews, Laura Marling and The Stranglers. There are two Proms dedicated to music from the big-screen: John Wilson returns to the Proms with his eponymous orchestra for an evening of Hollywood glamour and the BBC Concert Orchestra perform classic British and American film scores.

From the ‘vocal play’ of a cappella group Naturally 7, the first Prom dedicated to Gospel music, a rare performance of Frank Zappa’s The Adventures of Greggery Peccary to Les Siècles performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on period instruments, there is a range of diverse musical offerings.

In the spirit of the Proms’ enduring mission to make the best classical music available to everyone, the 2013 Proms will be broadcast on more BBC platforms than ever before across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four.

Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and the audio streamed online in HD quality with additional broadcasts on Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, 4 Extra, 6 Music and the Asian Network. Online, for the first time ever Cadogan Hall Proms chamber music concerts, hosted by Petroc Trelawny, will be filmed for the BBC website and a selection will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four.

Sakari Oramo will conduct the First Night of the Proms marking the beginning of his tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra whilst other leading conductors include Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Lorin Maazel, Sir Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézét-Seguin, Jonathan Nott, Vasily Petrenko, Robin Ticciati, Xian Zhang and Mariss Jansons who celebrates his 70th birthday in 2013.

Many well-loved Proms artists return to the festival in 2013 including Stephen Hough on the First Night, Imogen Cooper, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida and star of last year’s Last Night of the Proms, Joseph Calleja, who as well as singing in a main evening Prom will appear alongside Nigel Kennedy at Proms in the Park. Kennedy will be making a mad dash to Hyde Park from the Royal Albert Hall stage and back again in his first appearance at the Last Night of the Proms! Beyond London there will be Last Night celebrations in Caerphilly in Wales, as well as further celebrations in Northern Ireland and a return to Glasgow Green for Scotland’s Proms in the Park.

The wealth of the UK’s living composers is celebrated with BBC commissions for Julian Anderson, Diana Burrell, Anna Clyne, Edward Cowie, Tansy Davies, David Matthews, John McCabe and John Woolwich while the world premiere of Tom Adès’s much-anticipated Totentanz is given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. There are three BBC commissions celebrating India’s rich and vibrant musical heritage by Nishat Khan and Indian-born British-based composers Naresh Sohal and Param Vir. Experimental composer Frederic Rzewski makes his Proms performance debut in the world premiere of his BBC-commissioned Piano Concerto. There will also be the rare chance to hear a world premiere by Benjamin Britten and a new orchestration by Anthony Payne of Vaughan Williams’ Four Last Songs.

The BBC Proms continues to celebrate youth with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain giving the first ever free main evening Prom performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America comes to the UK in its inaugural year with star American violinist Joshua Bell. The Proms Youth Choir, now in its second year, joins forces with the BBC Symphony Chorus on the First Night of the Proms to create a massed choir for Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony.

In addition to the six BBC performing groups who once again provide the backbone to the season, there is a stellar line-up of international orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Lorin Maazel, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under newly appointed Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra with Jonathan Nott, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with Mariss Jansons. Gracing the Royal Albert Hall’s stage for the first time are the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.

Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms and Controller BBC Radio 3, says: "The BBC Proms is the world’s largest and longest-running music festival which over eight weeks every summer, welcomes the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and soloists. With £5 Promming tickets for the eighth year running and more ways than ever for people to enjoy the events in person, on radio, television and online, the BBC’s on-going commitment to running the festival allows the Proms to be one of the best value-for-money experiences anywhere. From Wagner’s Ring Cycle to a celebration of urban music, it is a festival where there is something for everyone to enjoy."

For full details of the season please visit

An online version of the BBC Proms media pack is available here

Tickets go on sale from 9am on Saturday 11 May 2013 via or 0844 209 7353 and in person at the Royal Albert Hall