The BBC Proms are right around the corner, enchanting both locals and visitors with a splendid mix of orchestral classical music concerts held in the Royal Albert Hall in London, as well as parks throughout the UK.
It’s an 8-week ordeal worth waiting for. It runs in the summertime from July 19th to September 14th. Here is what we have to look forward to this year, and acts from the past that we will never forget.
Moonlight Landing Theme 2019
The theme for this year’s BBC London Proms is outer space, marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. As such, there will be a sci-fi prom featuring scores from films like Gravity and Alien: Covenant. BBC Prom 27 will also feature the sound of space: Sci-Fi Film Music.
First-Ever Female Conductor to Start off The Proms
This year the BBC Proms will premiere with Karina Canellakis, the first-ever female conductor to oversee the very first night of the Proms.
The historical night is sure to be one that goes down in history. So, instead of tucking into fish and chips at the best restaurants Paddington London, (who could blame you!) book a ticket to view history in the making.
Queen Victoria’s Piano
Celebrating the 200th anniversary of none other than Queen Victoria, the Proms are transporting her personal piano from Buckingham Palace for a performance to remember.
The beautiful instrument is decorated with cherubs and delightful monkeys, it’s easy to see why Queen Victoria cherished this possession. Music will be played by Mendelssohn, Queen Victoria’s favorite composer. The prom will also feature music created by Prince Albert, her husband.
Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood – More Than Just a Headbanger
This performance might come as a surprise to many!
The guitarist Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead isn’t only a talented rocker, after all. His performance will be his debut at the BBC Proms, and expectations are high. The composer has talents that lie in avant-garde music and has been featured on soundtracks like There Will Be Blood, Norwegian Wood, and Phantom Thread.
Soul-Jazz Legend Nina Simone Following Quincy Jones
Ledisi will perform Mississippi Goddam singer Nina Simone’s classic tracks such as ‘I Put A Spell On You’ and ‘Feeling Good’. This concert is one of many jazz-soul inspired shows at the Proms as Quincy Jones and Charles Mingus have also been part of the series. This has come at the request of conductor Jules Buckley.
The said conductor is also responsible for a hip-hop Prom showcasing both beatboxing, DJs and graffiti art. There’s something for everyone at the BBC Proms, that’s for sure!
Climate Change Concert
Not only is space the theme of the Proms this year, but climate change will also get its chance in the spotlight.
Works composed by Beethoven and Strauss will be played. The Pastoral Symphony was inspired by the Austrian countryside, and the Alpine Symphony was inspired by the Bavarian Alps – as such it is only fitting that both of them be played in the climate change concert.
Baroque Group Solomon’s Knot – A Wild Card
The band Solomon’s Knot has quite the following and will perform four Bach cantatas from memory and without a conductor.
Many critics see this as the wild card not only on the evening of August 14th but in terms of the Proms as a whole. Book yourself into the Chilworth Paddington for a chance to see this musical collection show London what they’ve got.
BBC Philharmonics Inclusive Prom
The BBC Philharmonic’s conductor Ben Gernon will perform classic pieces by Rachmaninov as well as Tchaikovsky in a “relaxed environment” as the BBC puts it. This is to create a more inclusive environment towards both children and adults with autism, sensory and communication impairments and those who are blind, deaf, or have learning disabilities.
It will be an environment where dancing, singing, and listening will all be permitted. This year’s Proms is, without a doubt, the most inclusive and culturally responsive there’s ever been. This is what keeps audience members coming back! There’s always something new and exciting on the horizon.
Best of 2007: Paul Gents Tribute to Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra
Who could forget when the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela took the Proms by storm back in 2007? Towards the end, the joyous performers produced jackets in the national colours of Venezuela to replace their formal suits. The audience cheered with glee, resulting in three encores.
Performing Mexican waves, spinning double basses and dancing, it was an authentic Prom fiesta. When the audience members did not stop applauding at their close, the orchestra members threw their jackets into the crowd for them to catch.
Best of 2009: Sarah Connoly Leads With Wit
Rule Britannia – the famous patriotic anthem – was performed on the last night of the BBC Proms in 2009. Instantly recognisable, the song is more than a favourite classic piece. Sarah Connoly, dressed in military gear, also flourished a sword to get a laugh. And laughs she most certainly did get!
Best of 2010: Pop Rock Song Teenage Dirtbag by the Ukulele Orchestra
An entry that surprised a lot of classical music aficionados, it was a witty and vastly entertaining performance. The Ukulele Orchestra is British based and tours worldwide performing a myriad of cover songs. One of their most delightful pieces is Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush – except it’s sung by a man with an unusually deep voice.
Best of 2014: All by Myself follows Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninov
In 2014 the Proms toyed with music and perception with this piece composed by Rachmaninov. Written during a deep depression, it is heavy and slow. The second movement following this somewhat disturbing piece, Eric Carmen’s All By Myself attempted to heal the hollowed hearts in the crowd.
It’s a performance remembered by many!
Best of 2018: No Hands Prom
The Aurora Orchestra proved their unconventional approach to classical music to be a hit. The group played music standing up completely from memory! It was a highly impressive performance that the audience claimed to be oddly intimate for a concert, in the best of ways.
Don’t miss this year’s BBC Prom and book your room at the Chilworth Paddington for easy access to the venue.