The programme for the 122nd BBC Proms season has been announced.
This season, which runs from 15 July to 10 September and consists of more than 90 concerts, has a strong Russian focus, beginning on the First Night with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture. One notable highlight will be when bass-baritone Bryn Terfel appears in the eponymous role of Musorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov, in which Sir Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Among the soloists tackling Tchaikovsy’s concertos, meanwhile, are Pekka Kuusisto in the Violin Concerto, and Kirill Gerstein and Pavel Kolesnikov in the First and Second Piano Concertos respectively. This year, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, an annual Proms favourite, is performed the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard.
The cello also falls under this year's BBC Proms spotlight. Among the many cellists appearing are Sol Gabetta playing Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Alban Gerhardt in Dvořák’s Concerto in B minor, and Truls Mørk with Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1. Paul Watkins, Steven Isserlis and former BBC Young Musician Guy Johnston perform world premieres by Huw Watkins, Thomas Adès and Charlotte Bray, and Leonard Elschenbroich plays a new work by Colin Matthews.
Among this year’s anniversaries, meanwhile, Shakespeare’s 400th unsurprisingly figures highly, marked by performances of works influenced by his plays, including Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. There is also a special day of Shakespeare-themed works by Purcell, Blow and Locke at Shakespeare’s Globe, performed by Arcangelo, and Shakespeare’s influence on film music, from Bernstein’s West Side Story to Walton’s Richard III, is presented by Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
It's not just Shakespeare's anniversary that is being marked, however. Bernard Haitink has one too. It’s 50 years since his the Dutch conductor's first concert at the Proms and he is celebrating by raising the baton for Mahler’s Third Symphony, with mezzo Sarah Connolly and the London Symphony Orchestra. Another high-profile Mahler event sees Esa-Pekka Salonen conduct the Philharmonia in Symphony No. 1.
There is a special cause for celebration at BBC Music Magazine, too, as within the list of BBC commissions are two pieces by our very own writers! Malcolm Hayes’s Violin Concerto features Tai Murray as soloist, and Bayan Northcott’s Concerto for Orchestra will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
A Gospel Prom, celebrating the rich legacy of gospel music, follows the success of the first such event in 2013, with a wide range of performers including the London Community Gospel Choir and, in one of the hottest tickets of the Proms, the John Wilson Orchestra also returns to celebrate the music of George Gershwin.
Other highlights include pianist Martha Argerich performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim, and Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Brahms’s Second and Mahler’s Seventh symphonies. And conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, recently confirmed as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's new music director, makes her Proms debut with the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. ‘I’m dreaming a lot about what will be possible with this incredible orchestra,’ she says.
Sakari Oramo, chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, will conduct this year’s Last Night of the Proms where he will be joined by tenor Juan Diego Flórez.
For details of the season, click here. The BBC Music Magazine Proms special issue will be on sale on 8 June and will feature a complete listings guide with details of all the concerts, plus Proms-related articles, interviews and news.
Each Prom will be broadcast live on Radio 3 with many also televised on BBC Four. Visit classical-music.com for updates and coverage throughout the season.
• Read an interview with David Pickard, Director of the BBC Proms