The programme of the 120th BBC Proms has been announced, with 92 concerts taking place over two months this summer.
The centrepiece of the season is the piano, with concerts exploring some of the great concertos written for the instrument. Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra will be performing all five Beethoven piano concertos; their recording of the Second and Fourth Concertos was recently named BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the Year. Pianists Alexei Volodin, Sergei Babayan and Daniil Trifonov will be performing Prokofiev’s five piano concertos in one concert, while Maria João Pires and Elisabeth Leonskaja will be playing six of Mozart’s late concertos. Both of Ravel’s concertos are part of the line-up, with Marc-André Hamelin performing the Left-Hand Concerto and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet taking the solo part of the G Major Concerto.
Several birthdays and anniversaries will be marked. Nielsen’s three concertos for clarinet, flute and violin will be played, as will all seven of Sibelius’s symphonies, marking the 150th anniversary of these composers’ births. Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday is celebrated with a series of concerts of his music, and Dame Evelyn Glennie has come up with a programme to mark her 50th birthday.
Sunday matinees are to become part of the Proms for the first time in a bid to introduce more people to classical music. The series includes Sir David Attenborough narrating a prom inspired by his TV series Life Story, a space-inspired piece by Eric Whitacre, and programmes built on the BBC’s Ten Pieces school initiative.
One of the season’s over-arching themes is ‘the musical mind’. Neuroscientist and author Daniel Levitin will be giving a lecture on the topic, while the Aurora Orchestra takes on the challenge of performing Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony from memory. Plus there will be a Prom dedicated to exploring Sherlock Holmes.
Other highlights include violinist Alina Ibragimova performing JS Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas, pianist Sir Andras Schiff playing the Goldberg Variations, cellist Yo-Yo Ma giving all of Bach’s cello suites in one Prom and organist Thierry Escaich adding his own improvisations to a programme of Bach. Bryn Terfel stars in a performance of Fiddler on the Roof and Sir Simon Rattle will be conducting Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius.
Sakari Oramo conducts the First Night of the Proms, with the programme including music by Nielsen, Mozart, Sibelius and Walton. And Marin Alsop returns to conduct her second Last Night of the Proms, joined by singers Danielle de Neise and Jonas Kaufmann, and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor.
For full details of the season, visit bbc.co.uk/proms. Every Prom will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, with many Proms also broadcast on BBC television. Conductor Sir Mark Elder will be one of this year’s presenters on TV, joining Katie Derham. Visit classical-music.com for our weekly TV and Radio highlights throughout the season.
BBC Music Magazine’s Proms special issue will be on sale on 3 June 2015.