David Pickard named as Director, BBC Proms

David has an outstanding track record in bringing new audiences to classical music, as well as a background in both orchestral and operatic music. I am absolutely delighted he will be working with Alan to build on the success of the BBC Proms.Helen Boaden, Director, BBC Radio
Date: 26.05.2015     Last updated: 26.05.2015 at 10.05
Category: Radio 3; Proms; Corporate
David Pickard has been appointed Director of the BBC Proms, it was announced today.

David, 55, is currently General Director at Glyndebourne and will take up his new role later this year, reporting to Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3.

Edward Blakeman, Director, BBC Proms 2015, will continue to lead the festival throughout this year’s season and ahead of David’s arrival.

Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio, says: “David has an outstanding track record in bringing new audiences to classical music, as well as a background in both orchestral and operatic music. I am absolutely delighted he will be working with Alan to build on the success of the BBC Proms. I would also like thank Edward Blakeman for leading the Proms with skill and flair as Director, BBC Proms 2015, and on delivering another excellent programme this year.”

Alan Davey says: “David comes from a background of musical excellence and exploration, and will bring a whole host of fresh ideas to help us ensure the greatest classical music festival in the world continues to provide the place for people to discover and rediscover the best classical music. His achievements at Glyndebourne have included the discovery of exciting new artistic talent and the establishment of a range of new initiatives to bring opera to wider audiences through Glyndebourne’s touring, education and digital activities.

"I would like to thank Edward Blakeman for his work bringing us this year’s season – one of huge musical depth which is proving to be a hit with audiences. He has done a superb job and deserves his place in the spotlight as the season takes us on the fascinating twists and turns we expect from a fantastic Proms season.”

David Pickard says: “I am honoured to be asked to take up the role of Director, BBC Proms, and to follow in the line of such distinguished predecessors. After 14 wonderful years at Glyndebourne, I count myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to lead another of this country’s most exciting arts organisations. Like so many people, my interest in classical music was inspired by visits to the Proms as a teenager and it has been my privilege to play a role as a contributor for the past 20 years, firstly with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and more recently with the annual Glyndebourne Prom. I look forward now to building on the founding principles of the Proms – to bring world-class classical music to the widest possible audience.”

David was appointed General Director of Glyndebourne in 2001. Since then, the company has become the first UK opera company to screen its work in cinemas and the first to stream its operas for free online, further developed its pioneering education work (including the RPS award-winning ‘Imago’ in 2014) and established a programme of offering subsidised opera tickets to people aged 16-29, as well as an annual programme of Performances for Schools. Under his leadership, Glyndebourne has built on its international reputation through new commissions and award-winning productions by Handel (‘Giulio Cesare’), Wagner (‘Tristan’ and ‘Meistersinger’), Purcell (‘The Fairy Queen’) and Britten (‘The Turn of the Screw’, ‘Billy Budd’ and ‘The Rape of Lucretia’) as well as developing new talent, such as conductors Edward Gardner, Robin Ticciati and Jakub Hrůša, all former Music Directors of the Glyndebourne Tour.

Before joining Glyndebourne, David was Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from 1993 until 2001, where he founded the orchestra’s education programme and initiated a number of tours and projects with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington and Ivan Fischer.

Prior to this, he held a number of senior posts in the arts including Administrator of the New Shakespeare Company (1987-89), Managing Director of Kent Opera (1989-90), Assistant Director of the 1991 Japan Festival (1990-91) and Artistic Administrator of the European Arts Festival (1991-92).

David studied music at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and started his career as Company Manager of the Royal Opera Company (1982-87), with whom he toured to Los Angeles, Athens and East Asia.

The role was advertised in February, following Alan Davey’s appointment as Controller of Radio 3.

Notes to Editors

BBC Proms 2015

As the world’s biggest classical music festival, the BBC Proms offers eight weeks of world-class music-making from a vast array of leading orchestras, conductors and soloists from the UK and around the world. Across more than 90 concerts – and a similar number of free events designed to extend and further enrich the audience’s Proms experience – the festival aims to offer a summer of music that allows for the most diverse and exciting musical journeys. One hundred and twenty years since it was founded, the driving factor in building a festival of this scale is to offer exceptional music-making at the lowest possible prices, continuing founder-conductor Henry Wood’s original ambition of bringing the best classical music to the widest possible audience. With every Prom broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and many televised on the BBC, the Proms reaches far and beyond the Royal Albert Hall. Promming tickets are £5 for the 10th year running. Visit bbc.co.uk/proms for more information.

About this year’s BBC Proms season:

  • A focus on piano concertos sees the complete Beethoven piano concertos performed by Leif Ove Andsnes, Prokofiev's five piano concertos performed by three pianists in a single Prom, and six of Mozart's late piano concertos performed across the season
  • The solo music of JS Bach is explored in a series of intimate Late Night Proms given by Alina Ibragimova and Sir Andras Schiff, as well as all six of Bach's solo cello suites performed by Yo-Yo Ma in one concert
  • A new series of Sunday Matinees designed to introduce audiences young and old to classical music includes a Life Story Prom, a Sherlock Holmes Prom and the first ever Ten Pieces Proms
  • A series of Late Night Proms in collaboration with the BBC's national radio stations - Radio 1, 1Xtra, 4, 6 Music and the Asian network - bringing new audiences to the Proms
  • Marking the composers' 150th anniversaries, Nielsen's three concertos and all seven of Sibelius' symphonies are performed
  • The 90th birthday year of Pierre Boulez is celebrated throughout the season
  • The Proms Lecture returns, with a lecture by neuroscientist and author Daniel Levitin unravelling the mystery of how our brains make and remember music, inspired by the Aurora Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's 'Pastoral' Symphony from memory