Who is performing at the 2023 BBC Proms?
Our guide to just some of the hugely talented performers, conductors, orchestras and choirs looking in at the 2023 BBC Proms
The 2023 BBC Proms are almost upon us - which means that, once again, some of the world's finest orchestras, choirs, conductors and performers will be descending on London this summer. Oh, and Great Yarmouth, Gateshead, Truro, Perth, Londonderry, Aberystwyth and Dewsbury - the 2023 Proms are travelling right across the UK this year!
Here's our guide to some of the performers you can expect to hear at this year's Proms. And don't forget we have a full 2023 Proms schedule elsewhere on the site.
Who is performing at the 2023 BBC Proms?
Let's take a look at some of the orchestras, choirs, conductors and performers appearing at this year's Proms.
Which orchestras are performing at the 2023 BBC Proms?
Here are some of the orchestras performing at the 2023 Proms.
Based at the Sage Gateshead, the RNS will be performing a trio of concerts at their home venue: a set with the musician Self Esteem on Friday 21 July, a concert featuring works by Brahms, Mozart and US composer Missy Mazzoli on Saturday 22 July, and a CBeebies concert on Sunday 23 July.
Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra has been around since 1857. Its long and storied past includes the premiere performance of Elgar’s Symphony No. 1. Later, under conductor John Barbirolli, the Hallé became a world-famous band.
It's currently enjoying another golden age under Sir Mark Elder, and is noted particularly (as in the Barbirolli era) for its performances of English repertoire. At the Proms, you'll hear them play Rachmaninov (The Bells) and Shostakovich (Symphony No. 5) on Wednesday 26 July.
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The CBSO was formed under its current name in 1920, although orchestras have been performing in Birmingham since 1740. The CBSO's past conductors include Adrian Boult, Sakari Oramo and, famously, Sir Simon Rattle.
The CBSO makes two appearances at the 2023 BBC Proms. On Thursday 27 July, it joins its own Chorus and Youth Chorus for Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and Orff's Carmina Burana. That one's conducted by current CBSO chief conductor Kazuki Yamada.
The orchestra then returns to the Royal Albert Hall the next day for a tribute to the Bollywood legend Lata Mangeshkar.
BBC Symphony Orchestra
One of the five BBC orchestras - along with the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales - the BBC Symphony gets the honour of performing at both the First Night of the Proms and the Last Night of the Proms.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Under current artistic director Kirill Karabits, the BSO is enjoying a very fruitful era. They'll be joining hornist Felix Klieser on 2 August for a programme including Mozart and Rachmaninov, and again the following day for a lineup including Walton's Orb & Sceptre, recently heard at the Coronation.
Formed in 2004, Aurora Orchestra was the first orchestra to perform whole symphonies from memory as a regular feature of its artistic output. And it will be doing just that on Saturday 2 September, playing Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring from memory for two performances (3pm & 7.30pm, Proms 62 and 63).
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Founded in 1983, the Budapest Festival Orchestra has made a name for itself as one of the most distinctive and best orchestras in the world. This is largely down to the work of co-founder Iván Fischer, who has conducted the orchestra since its inception.
Chi-chi Nwanoku's trailblazing orchestra has kickstarted the careers of artists including Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and is providing a platform for brilliant musicians from the black, Asian and ethnically diverse community who aren't getting the performance opportunities they deserve elsewhere.
Which choirs are performing at the 2023 BBC Proms?
Britain's only full-time professional chamber choir, the BBC Singers made headline news earlier in 2023 when the BBC announced that the Singers would be disbanded as part of a new classical music strategy.
That decision has since been suspended, and in fact the BBC Singers have a very busy Proms this year, appearing in four concerts including both the First and Last Night of the Proms. Which is good to hear, as they will be celebrating their 100th birthday next year.
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The first of three ensembles founded by the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir sang their first notes way back in 1964. Most recently seen at the Coronation, they will be in attendance for Prom 64 on Sunday 3 September, where they join another Gardiner ensemble, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, for a performance of Berlioz's grand opera Les Troyens.
Which conductors are performing at the 2023 BBC Proms?
Sir Simon Rattle
Perhaps the most famous living British conductor, Rattle had a long and fruitful tenure with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 1998. He was then principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1999 to 2018. His most recent post was as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra: he makes his final performances with the LSO at this year's Proms.
Rattle conducts the LSO and Chorus in Schumann's Das Paradies und Die Peri on Tue 22 August, and the LSO and BBC Singers in Mahler and Poulenc on Sun 27 August.
We made Dalia Stasevska BBC Music Magazine's Personality of the Year for 2023, in recognition of her tireless efforts to support her Ukrainian countrymen both on and off the podium.
Principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Stasevska will be conducting them for this year's First Night of the Proms, with a programme including Sibelius, Grieg, Britten and a new work by Ukrainian composer Bohdana Frolyak.
US conductor Marin Alsop will be conducting the Last Night of the Proms - for the third time. The first time she took on the gig, back in 2013, she was the first woman to conduct the Last Night.
Alsop was a hugely successful music director at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2021 (where she remains as music director laureate). In another first, she was the first woman to lead a major American orchestra.
This year, the programme will include the usual Last Night favourites such as 'Rule Britannia', Pomp & Circumstance, 'Jerusalem' and the National Anthem - plus works including Strauss's Don Juan, Bruch's Kol Nidrei, and excerpts from Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana.
The Finnish conductor and violinist, currently chief conductor at the BBC Philharmonic, will lead his orchestra in a brace of Proms.
On Thursday 3 August (Prom 26), Storgårds and the BBC Phil will give us Sibelius's Symphony No. 1 and the Walton Violin Concerto, with James Ehnes on violin. And on Wednesday 9 August (Prom 33), conductor and orchestra return with mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly for a programme of Weber, Rachmaninov, and songs by Croatian composer Dora Pejačević.
A Proms favourite, Wilson is a conductor, arranger and musical scholar probably best known for his hugely popular programmes of light music - which he often performs with his own ensemble, the John Wilson Orchestra. He's also, however, a proven conductor of the standard classical repertoire.
At the 2021 Proms, Wilson caused a stir with his re-established orchestra, The Sinfonia of London, and a programme conjuring up the world of fin-de-siècle Vienna. And he is outspoken about his desire to avoid being pigeonholed.
You can see Wilson and the Sinfonia in action at Prom 30 on Sunday 6 August, where they are joined by pianist Benjamin Grosvenor for a programme including Walton, Lili Boulanger, and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2.
The Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons enjoyed a successful tenure at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and is now music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
With the former, he's made some acclaimed recordings of (among others) the Shostakovich symphonies.
Nelsons brings his Boston band for two Proms this year. Prom 52 (Friday 25 August) features a European premiere of Julia Adolphe's Makeshift Castle, plus Strauss's Death and Transfiguration and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5.
They return the next day for Prom 55, featuring another European premiere: Carlos Simon's Four Black American Dances. That work is joined by Stravinsky's Petrushka, Ravel's La valse and Gershwin's Piano Concerto, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet at the keyboard.
Which soloists are performing at the 2023 BBC Proms?
The former BBC Young Musician of the Year winner heads to Dewsbury on Sunday 6 August for one of this year's many regional Proms. She'll be performing cello sonatas by Rachmaninov and Dora Pejačević (one of this year's themed Proms composers, marking 100 years since her death).
Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha
The South African soprano will sing Strauss's profoundly moving Vier letzte Lieder (Four last songs) for Prom 28 (Saturday 5 August),which also includes Copland's Symphony No. 3 and Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber. The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain will be performing on the night.
Another multi-talented Finn like John Storgårds above, Kuusisto will have a busy night on Saturday 16 July (Prom 4). He'll be conducting Germany's Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen for a programme including Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and Vivaldi's Four Seasons, for which he'll also be the soloist.
US-born violinist Elena Urioste is a former BBC New Generation Artist, who has performed with major orchestras throughout America and internationally. She also co-founded - with her husband, the British pianist and composer Tom Poster - the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, a flexible ensemble that has included the likes of Nicola Benedetti, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Mary Bevan and Alison Balsom.
On Wednesday 19 July (Prom 7), Elena performs Coleridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto in a programme that also includes Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
The soulful Canadian gives us a unique double header: successive live performances of his 2003 and 2004 albums Want One and Want Two, on Tuesday 5 September.
The Rotherham-born musician Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self Esteem, is a hugely popular multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and theatre composer, much loved for her caustic commentaries on modern life, love, relationships and gender relations. She will play a live set at Sage Gateshead on Friday 21 July (Prom 9), accompanied by Sage's resident band, the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason gets one of classical music's best gigs this year: playing at the Last Night of the Proms. He'll be performing Bruch's cello concertante work Kol Nidrei, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop.
The Chinese pianist graces this year's Proms with a performance of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Accompaniment comes from the BBC Symphony Orchestra under another star Finn, conductor Klaus Mäkelä (Prom 27, Friday 4 August).
Felix Klieser's story is an extraordinarily inspiring one. He was born with no arms, but it's not stopped him from becoming an internationally renowned French horn player. Instead of using his hands to press the valves, Klieser uses his toes.
His French horn sits on a stand, and he uses his right foot to move in and out of the bell of the instrument and his left foot to press the valves and change the notes.
He will perform Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4 twice at this year's Proms, on the evening of Wednesday 2 August and the morning of Thursday 3 August.
- 'Ten Pieces' Special: Part 2 – Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4
- Dennis Brain: the British virtuoso who brought the French horn to prominence as a solo instrument
Which of the 2023 BBC Proms are on TV?
You can find transmission dates for the televised 2023 Proms in our article on how to watch this year's Proms. We will update this piece as we get transmission dates.
Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.