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2020 Season guide

Musical greats - from the past and the present - brought together in one extraordinary Proms season 2020

Find full TV and radio listings for the archive season 17 July – 12 September

From Bernstein to Benedetti, Haitink to Hvorostovsky ... Not the Proms as we know them, the Proms as we need them.

In the year that the Proms turns 125 years old, the 2020 season brings the spirit of the Proms to music-lovers at home with treasures from the archive and incredible live performances.

In challenging times, the BBC Proms continues its annual festival consisting of 8 weeks of world-class performances by the world's greatest classical musicians of the past, present and future.

Complete archive concerts will be available live on BBC Radio 3 and on demand on BBC Sounds. A selection of archive concerts will also be available on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.

In the final 2 weeks of the season performances live from the Royal Albert Hall will be available on BBC Four and streamed directly to iPlayer, as well as on Radio 3 and BBC Sounds.

The Proms kick off on BBC Radio 3 & BBC Four

The Proms on Radio 3 launches with a performance by the specially created BBC Grand Virtual Orchestra, comprising over 350 musicians from the BBC Orchestras and Choirs. They will perform a completely original arrangement of Beethoven’s 9 symphonies, created by Iain Farrington. Farrington describes his work as “taking Beethoven's music and putting it in a musical washing machine to see which colours run”.

First Night on Radio 3

First Night on BBC Four

Live performances from the Royal Albert Hall

From Friday 28 August, there will be a series of live performances from the Royal Albert Hall.

Each of the BBC Orchestras will perform live at the festival, and in long-standing Proms tradition, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will open and close the series culminating in a Last Night of the Proms. Led by the BBC SO’s Principal Guest Conductor, Dalia Stasevska, the 2020 Last Night of the Proms features violinist Lisa Batiashvili and soprano Golda Schultz.

Other highlights include: -

  • Mitsuko Uchida with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle
  • Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason
  • The Aurora Orchestra led by Nicholas Collon
  • Anoushka Shankar with electronic artist Gold Panda, the Britten Sinfonia and Jules Buckley

Whilst it’s unlikely there will be an audience at the Royal Albert Hall, the live performances will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and iPlayer.

Proms Time Capsule

This season the Proms ‘Time Capsule’ will be cracked open to relive some of the best moments of the past 125 years.

Audiences are asked to join in by sharing their favourite Proms moments or memories on social media by using #PromsTimeCapsule. Every weekday throughout the season Radio 3 Breakfast will reflect some of these moments live on-air. You may even see your own memory or moment shared on Proms social media or stored in our digital ‘Time Capsule’!

Keep an eye on Proms social feeds from next week for more details on how to join in.

Proms at Home

For the first time primary-school-aged children can take part in special free activities built around selected Proms broadcasts and can upload their creative results to the Proms website. The activities have been created in partnership with eight organisations around the UK that work to change lives and bring music and the arts to children and young adults, including The Irene Taylor Trust, Literacy Pirates, Handprint, Heart n Soul and Mousetrap Theatre.

The deadline for the BBC Young Composer competition has also been extended to 5pm, 20 July. Winners of the BBC Young Composer competition will participate in a tailored development programme, and work with a mentor composer on a project with the BBC Concert Orchestra, which will be performed and broadcast as part of the 2021 BBC Proms. Find the competition Rules and how to enter here.