BBC Proms to celebrate Ibiza, Sherlock and outer space

By Tim Masters
Arts and entertainment correspondent

image copyrightAndrew hayes-watkins
image caption(L-R) Dame Evelyn Glennie, Danielle de Niese, Katie Derham, Nicholas Collon and pupils from Luton Music Service

This year's BBC Proms will feature concerts inspired by the Ibiza dance scene, Sherlock Holmes and the Hubble space telescope.

The two-month music festival, starting on 17 July, will also see Sir David Attenborough narrating a prom to the music of his Life Story TV series.

There will be 92 concerts in total, mainly at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Marin Alsop will return to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, after her 2013 debut.

Edward Blakeman, this year's Proms director, said there would be a "big focus" on piano works with more than 25 solo pianists featuring across the season.

The complete Beethoven piano concertos will be performed by Leif Ove Andsnes, while Prokofiev's five piano concertos will played at a single prom. Six of Mozart's late piano concertos also feature.

For the first time at the Proms, a series of Sunday matinees are being introduced aimed at families.

image captionMarin Alsop returns to the podium after her Last Night of the Proms debut in 2013

They include concerts celebrating the first year of Ten Pieces, the BBC's classical music initiative for primary schools. Hosted by Barney Harwood and Dick and Dom, they will be broadcast later in the year on CBBC.

"The idea is to broaden the Proms appeal to as many people and as wide an age range as possible," said Blakeman, as he unveiled his plans on Thursday.

The Life Story Prom will see veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough share the stage with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

"When I phoned David and asked him if he would like to be in this Prom, he was slightly cautious," Blakeman revealed.

"We will hear Murray Gold's score with a big orchestra on stage and footage from Life Story on big screens. Putting that music into the Albert Hall should be very powerful."

Another matinee will feature music mentioned in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as scores written for TV shows and films about the super-sleuth - including the current BBC TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Mark Gatiss, the show's co-creator, who also plays Holmes' brother Mycroft, will read passages from the original adventures.

The European premiere of Eric Whitacre's choral and orchestral work, Deep Field - inspired by photographs of distant galaxies taken by the Hubble telescope - will encourage audiences to download a mobile app they can use at the climax of the work.

"Eric's idea is that, at the end, the hall darkens and you hold your phone up and the Albert Hall itself becomes part of the outer reaches of space," said Blakeman.

The same concert will feature the proms debut of BBC Young Musician winner Martin James Bartlett.

Birthday celebrations

image captionRadio 1 presenter Pete Tong will mark the Ibiza dance phenomenon at a special Prom

In one of a series of late night Proms, Radio 1 presenter Pete Tong celebrates 20 years of the Ibiza dance scene in a concert with Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra.

"It's been a huge phenomenon, so why would we not celebrate it, in a Proms way, with a big orchestra?" said Blakeman.

Radio 1Xtra presents a grime symphony with artists including Wretch 32 and Krept & Konan.

The Proms also celebrate Scandinavian composers, Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius, on the 150th anniversary of their births.

The 90th birthday this year of French composer Pierre Boulez is celebrated in a series of concerts, while percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie marks her 50th birthday with a Proms Chamber Music concert.

The John Wilson Orchestra will mark the 100th birthday year of Frank Sinatra with Hollywood's Seth MacFarlane singing onstage, as well as celebrating Leonard Bernstein's music for stage and screen.

Other star names include Bryn Terfel, who returns to the Proms for Fiddler on the Roof, while Sir Simon Rattle conducts a performance of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with the BBC Proms Youth Choir and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Other leading conductors include Daniel Barenboim, Thomas Dausgaard, Andris Nelsons and Sakari Oramo. Soloists include Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Alice Coote, Nikolai Lugansky, Mitsuko Uchida and Roderick Williams.

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, said: "As always, BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting every Prom live in 2015, and alongside our partners in television and online, we're delighted to continue bringing the best classical music in the world to millions of music lovers across the UK."

The BBC Proms runs from 17 July to 12 September. The full list of events can be found at the BBC Proms website.

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