Everything you need to know about the Last Night of the Proms

The Last Night of the Proms is always a thoroughly entertaining event and this year's should be more thrilling than ever, with audiences finally invited back to the Royal Albert Hall for a night of music and merriment

Everything you need to know about the Last Night of the Proms

When is the 2021 Last Night of the Proms?

This year’s Last Night of the Proms is taking place on Saturday 11 September at the Royal Albert Hall. The concert is scheduled to start at 7.30pm in the Royal Albert Hall, with accompanying TV and radio coverage.

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Who is conducting the 2021 Last Night of the Proms?

This year’s Last Night of the Proms will be conducted by Sakari Oramo, chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who is scheduled to perform, as is Last Night tradition.

In October 2020, Oramo extended his contract with the BBC Symphony Orchestra until the end of the season in 2023. He’s held the role since 2013 and in 2019 was joined by fellow Finn Dalia Stasevska as principal guest conductor of the orchestra, who conducted the Last Night last year – when the concert took place in the Royal Albert Hall without an audience, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Who is the soloist for this year’s Last Night of the Proms?

Australian tenor Stuart Skelton is this year’s Last Night of the Proms soloist. He will be joining the BBC Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor Sakari Oramo in the usual Last Night tradition.

Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova is also scheduled to appear at the Last Night of the Proms, but it is not yet clear what she will be performing.

What is on the programme for the 2021 Last Night of the Proms?

Because Proms in the Park aren’t able to take place this year, national songs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be included as part of this year’s Last Night programme: ‘Island Spinning Song’, ‘O Gymru! (O Wales!)’, and ‘Carrickfergus’.

Gity Razaz Mother (BBC commission: world premiere)
Malcolm Arnold Variations for Orchestra on a Theme of Ruth Gipps
Samuel Barber, arr. Jonathan Manners Adagio for strings
Maurice Ravel Le tombeau de Couperin – Rigaudon
Franck Angelis Fantasie on a Theme of Piazzolla – Chiquilín de Bachín
Richard Wagner Wesendonck Lieder – Im Treibhaus
Richard Wagner The Mastersingers of Nuremberg – Prize Song
Florence Price Symphony No. 1 – ‘Juba Dance’ (3rd movt)
Astor Piazzolla, arr. John Lenehan Libertango
Aníbal Troilo, arr. George Morton ‘Sur’
arr. Percy Grainger Brigg Fair
Peter Allen, arr. Iain Farrington ‘I Still Call Australia Home’
arr. Henry Wood, orch. Mark Millidge Fantasia on British Sea-Songs
Thomas Arne Rule, Britannia!
Edward Elgar, arr. Anne Dudley Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major (‘Land of Hope and Glory’)
Hubert Parry, arr. Edward Elgar Jerusalem
arr. Benjamin Britten The National Anthem ‘God Save the Queen’
Trad., arr. Paul Campbell Auld Lang Syne

Stuart Skelton (tenor)
Ksenija Sidorova (accordion)

BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo

Find out what we picked as the best Last Nights of the Proms from history.

What happens at the Last Night of the Proms?

The Last Night of the Proms has followed in the same format since Malcolm Wood took over from Proms founder Henry Wood as chief conductor in 1947. It was he that decided to expand the viewership of the Proms and appeal to the masses with the concert sequence of ‘Rule Britannia’, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No. 1 ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and Parry’s Jerusalem. 

It was also Sargeant who was responsible for helping cement the tradition of speech-giving at the Last Night. Henry Wood had given the first Last Night speech in 1941 at a time where the future of the festival was under question, but at that time it was not an annual tradition. Nowadays, the Last Night conductor is expected to give a speech on a subject of their choosing. Often, they will discuss the state of music education and the importance of music and the arts in culture. In 2013, Marin Alsop became the first woman in Proms history to conduct the Last Night and mentioned her surprise at this fact in her speech, saying she was shocked that there could still be ‘firsts for women in 2013.’

The first half of the Last Night of the Proms concert tends to feature a more eclectic range of music, often with a few contemporary pieces thrown in for good measure. There’s often a premiere of a newly commissioned Proms work. The second half of the Last Night is more celebratory and – some would say – frivolous. The soloist will often adorn themselves in a festive outfit to sing ‘Rule Britannia’. If, as an audience member, you’re worried about what to wear to the BBC Proms, we have a tailor-made introduction to the Proms dress code just for you.

Why are the Proms called the Proms? We explain the history behind the term and how the BBC Proms came to be.

How can I watch the 2021 Last Night of the Proms?

The Last Night of the Proms will be broadcast live to watch on BBC Four and to listen to on BBC iPlayer. Find out more about which other Proms will be available to watch on BBC TV here.

If you want to attend the Last Night of the Proms in person, we explain how to buy tickets for the BBC Proms here.

Who is presenting the 2021 Last Night of the Proms?

The TV coverage of the Last Night of the Proms will be presented by Katie Derham.

Will the Last Night of the Proms be available on BBC iPlayer?

Yes, the Last Night of the Proms will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer until 11 October.

Is Proms in the Park taking place this year?

Due to scheduling difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Proms in the Park will not be taking place this year. In place of it, the Last Night of the Proms will be screened in the Assembly Festival Garden in Coventry, live from the Royal Albert Hall.

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Find out more about the history of Proms in the Park.

Proms Presenter Katie Derham at the Royal Albert Hall BBC Proms 2021