BBC Proms – Friday 19 July to Saturday 14 September 2024 

BBC Proms welcomes the world’s best international and British orchestras to the Royal Albert Hall and launches more residencies across the UK 

Ninety Proms feature over 3,000 musicians over eight weeks, including star soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Yunchan Lim, Víkingur Ólafsson, Sheku, Braimah and Isata Kanneh-Mason, and weekend festivals in Bristol, Nottingham and Gateshead.

The BBC Proms welcomes many of the world’s finest international artists and orchestras to the UK. The Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko performs two Proms, one with pianist Víkingur Ólafsson and another featuring a programme of music by Bruckner, marking the composer’s 200th–anniversary. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle also performs two Proms, with music by Bruckner and Mahler and, in celebration of The Year of Czech Music, Jakub Hrůša conducts the Czech Philharmonic for two Proms of entirely Czech music. Marking their 25th-anniversary, the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra returns to the BBC Proms under Daniel Barenboim, with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. 

Celebrating the very best of British musicians and British creativity, the BBC’s own ensembles perform in a total of 38 Proms, and a further 20 orchestras and over 25 choirs from all over the UK perform throughout the season. Highlights include the First Night of the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Elim Chan, featuring soloists Isata Kanneh-Mason and Sophie Bevan and the world premiere of Hallelujah Sim., by Ben Nobuto. The BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Edwin Outwater celebrates the work of film composer Henry Mancini and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Nicholas Collon performs the world premiere of Anna Clyne’s The Gorgeous Nothings. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales led by Ryan Bancroft performs a double bill of Schoenberg and Zemlinsky and Ilan Volkov conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the first UK performance of Mary Lou Williams’s Zodiac Suite alongside works by Ellington and Anthony Braxton, with Braxton making his BBC Proms debut.

In the year the BBC Singers mark their 100th-anniversary, the BBC Proms celebrates choral music and singing, with a special three-concert Choral Day reflecting a wide range of styles. Professional and amateur choirs feature throughout the day, which includes the Royal Albert Hall debut of Voices of the River’s Edge, a community youth choir formed by the BBC Proms and the Glasshouse International Centre for Music during lockdown. The BBC Singers will perform in seven Proms this year, including the First Night of the Proms, the Last Night of the Proms, Berlin Philharmonic’s Bruckner Prom and the world premiere of a piece specially written for them by Eric Whitacre. Further choral highlights across the summer include performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem and Bach’s St John Passion.

More BBC Proms residencies launch across the UK, with a total of 17 Proms performed outside London. For the first time, a weekend-long BBC Proms festival launches at the newly opened Bristol Beacon. Paraorchestra makes their BBC Proms debut performing the world premiere of The Virtuous Circle, Mozart’s Symphony No.40 interspersed with new work by Oliver Vibrans, co-commissioned by the BBC. Kirill Karabits conducts the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the CBeebies Ocean Adventure Prom makes its Proms Bristol debut, with presenters Andy Day and Puja Panchkoty. The BBC Proms returns to Gateshead for a weekend-long residency at the Glasshouse International Centre for Music, and a brand-new Proms residency launches in venues across Nottingham, building on the BBC Concert Orchestra’s ongoing residency in the area. Chamber concerts take place in Aberdeen, Belfast and Newport.

The BBC Proms continues its tradition of orchestral collaborations with non-classical artists and tributes to different musical genres. Florence Welch, of indie-rock band Florence + The Machine, makes her BBC Proms debut, and only UK appearance this year, to perform her lauded BRIT Award-winning 2009 album Lungs, with Jules Buckley and his orchestra. Jordan Rakei makes his BBC Proms debut with Robert Ames and the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Glasshouse International Centre for Music. Academy Award-winning artist Sam Smith makes their BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, their only live UK appearance this year, performing their own music in new orchestral arrangements. After the success of the 2023 Northern Soul Prom, this year’s opening weekend will feature the first ever Disco Prom, celebrating disco music of the late 1970s during the era of New York’s Studio 54. Three Proms pay tribute to the work and legacies of iconic musicians: folk-rock artist Nick Drake, jazz singer Sarah Vaughan and film composer Henry Mancini, each of whom have significant anniversaries this year and whose Proms will feature exciting soloists. Tinariwen performs a Late Night Prom, featuring their pioneering mix of traditional Tuareg and African music with Western rock music.

BBC Radio 3 will once again enable the festival to reach millions of people by broadcasting every Prom. Other BBC Radio networks, including Radio 1 and Radio 2 will broadcast highlights. This year, 24 concerts will be broadcast on TV and BBC iPlayer, from the glittering First Night of the Proms, presented by Clive Myrie, to the world-famous Last Night of the Proms, presented by Katie Derham.

Sam Jackson, Controller, Radio 3 and BBC Proms says: Following last year’s record-breaking figures on BBC Sounds and iPlayer, we’re thrilled to be bringing the Proms to millions of people this summer. Nowhere other than Radio 3 can audiences hear the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony and West–Eastern Divan Orchestras, alongside concerts celebrating the music of Doctor Who, 1970s disco and choral singing — not to mention the multiple Proms featuring the BBC’s own outstanding ensembles. Huge thanks to David Pickard, who has programmed a remarkable season, with something that caters to every musical taste. Twenty-four Proms will be on TV and iPlayer and, as always, every note will be broadcast on Radio 3 and BBC Sounds. As we launch three Proms residencies in Bristol, Gateshead and Nottingham, as well as chamber concerts in Aberdeen, Newport and Belfast, I hope licence fee payers, wherever they are in the UK, will join us for another truly memorable season’.

A roster of debut soloists includes pianist Yunchan Lim, cellist Anastasia Kobekina, clarinettist Anthony McGill and sopranos Latonia Moore and Angel Blue. Star soloists returning to the BBC Proms include Yo-Yo Ma with Leonidas Kavakos and Emanuel Ax, Jamie Barton, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Víkingur Ólafsson.

This summer’s programme includes an exciting array of family events and concerts for children, with a new Doctor Who Prom and a new CBeebies Prom. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Braimah Kanneh-Mason, Plínio Fernandes and Fantasia Orchestra perform a programme of folk songs, dances, prayers and incantations, which will be repeated in a Relaxed performance the following day. Reinforcing its commitment to music education, BBC Open Music trainees join forces with BBC Music Introducing to celebrate the best young talent at Proms Gateshead. The Open Music scheme brings creatives and musicians of all genres, styles and backgrounds from across the UK to the BBC; designed to develop new skills whilst exploring collaborations and ideas across orchestral and classical music broadcasting at the BBC. And in Nottingham, the BBC Concert Orchestra performs the winning new commissions from six young composers who won the 2023 BBC Young Composer competition.

The ever-innovative Aurora Orchestra performs Beethoven’s Ninth by Heart, marking the 200th-anniversary of Beethoven’s monumental ninth symphony, alongside the BBC Singers and National Youth Choir of Great Britain. The performance will be preceded by a dramatised introduction that explores the background of the work, composed amid Beethoven’s hearing loss, illness and personal tragedy. It will be presented by conductor Nicholas Collon and feature actor Rhiannon May and actor/BSL interpreter Tom Simper, and there will be British Sign Language throughout.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms says: This year’s Proms season is one of the most ambitious we have ever presented. With a total of 90 concerts, audiences can look forward to the starriest international artists and orchestras in a programme that encompasses the very best in classical and orchestral music. Our national reach is now wider than ever, with 17 Proms taking place across the UK, including weekend-long residences in Bristol, Gateshead and Nottingham. It has been an absolute honour leading the world’s greatest classical music festival for nearly a decade, and I hope audiences will find much to enjoy this summer.’

The season culminates in the Last Night of the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and BBC Singers. This year’s festival finale is led by Sakari Oramo, who is joined by Sir Stephen Hough and Angel Blue. Alongside traditional Last Night of the Proms favourites, audiences can enjoy the world premiere of a new work by Carlos Simon, commissioned by the BBC.

The BBC continues its commitment to championing new music. This year, 23 premieres and BBC commissions / co-commissions will be performed. Composers Anna Clyne, Sarah Class, Sarah Gibson, Dani Howard, Steve Reich, Carlos Simon, Asteryth Sloane, Laura Poe, Elizabeth Kelly and Eric Whitacre each have a premiere, and Julius Eastman’s Symphony No. 2 and Mary Lou Williams’s Zodiac Suite will be performed in the UK for the first time.

General booking opens at 9am on Saturday 18 May: for more information click here.

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