The wait for the arrival of this year’s BBC Proms is almost over, with the 115-year-old musical exhibition promising to excite fans worldwide.
Kicking off later this month (Friday 16th July) and with over 150 performances, the nine-week event will attract a continuous stream of classical music fans looking to sample the atmosphere and view new and established musicians ply their trade.
Speaking to the Independent, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican, and until three years ago, the director of the BBC Proms, explains that the overriding ethos of the Proms has changed very little throughout its long and established history.
“The aim of the concerts are to introduce people to classical music, in a light-hearted and fun way, and to educate listeners”.
Denby Richards, editor of Musical Opinion, has been attending the Proms for a record 73 years and has said that the festival still reaches out to as many people as Henry Wood’s original concerts.
“A lot of Wood’s aims were about introducing and educating people into the joy, and value, of music – he almost programmed in cycles of three years, in the sense that if you came three years running and attended the majority of concerts, you would have received a full musical education; you would have experienced every kind of music from every type of genre, country and time period.”
This year, a day of events devoted to the Proms founder-conductor Henry Wood will include a recreation of the Last Night of the Proms from 1910 which will make this the first season in history to include two Last Nights.
Among the other highlights of the two-month festival are two glittering events that bring Broadway to the Proms, one celebrating Stephen Sondheim and the other the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein. There are also major Proms debut concerts for Jazz star Jamie Cullum, Violinist Nicola Benedetti and the legendary band Penguin Cafe.
A tribute to Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, who would have been 150 this year, will take place this year with performances of most of his symphonies by the Berlin Philharmonic and the BBC Scottish Symphony among others.
The BBC Proms website provides full information about all of this years the events, with comprehensive programme notes for every concert and behind-the-scenes blogs.