The announcement finally puts an end to the speculation as to who would take over at the world’s largest music festival ever since Roger Wright announced early last year that he would be quitting as both controller of Radio 3 and director of the BBC Proms for the post of chief executive of Aldeburgh Music. In the meantime, Alan Davey has been appointed as the new head of Radio 3, but the Proms post left unfilled, with Edward Blakeman serving as acting director.
Pickard, 55, has been general director at Glyndebourne since 2001, during which time the company has enjoyed something of a golden era – notable successes have included the productions of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Britten’s Billy Budd and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, the live recording of which was winner of the Opera category at this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards. Before that, he was chief executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, which has won plaudits for both the imagination of its programming and its initiatives to bring new audiences to classical music.
Talking about his new post, Pickard says, ‘I count myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to lead another of this country’s most exciting arts organisations. Like so many people, my interest in classical music was inspired by visits to the Proms as a teenager. I look forward now to building on the founding principles of the Proms – to bring world-class classical music to the widest possible audience.’
The 2015 season of the BBC Proms begins at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 17 July, when Sakari Oramo conducts a programme of Nielsen, Mozart, Sibelius and Walton.