The programme for the BBC Proms 2014 was announced today. Global classical music is at the heart of the season, with more international ensembles performing than ever before.
Ten will be appearing for the first time at the festival, including from Australia, China, Greece, Iceland, Lapland, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and Qatar. Meanwhile, the Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with Riccardo Chailly, the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst and the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer all make return visits.
The centenary of the outbreak of the first world war is being commemorated with the matinée War Horse Prom (3 August), the Prom’s first ever collaboration with the National Theatre, featuring puppets from the production and a Proms Military Wives Choir directed by Gareth Malone. The New War Hymn, written by Proms founder Sir Henry Wood in response to the outbreak of the First World War, will be given its modern day premiere.
Four of Britain’s leading conductors will celebrate landmark birthdays: Donald Runnicles at 60, Sir Andrew Davis at 70, Sir Roger Norrington at 80 and Sir Neville Marriner at 90. Meanwhile, the 80th birthdays of Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies will also be marked across ten concerts. The Proms also celebrates 150 years since the birth of Richard Strauss, with performances of Der Rosenkavalier (4 August), Salome (30 August) and Elektra (31 August).
Following Marin Alsop’s historic performance at the last night of the Proms in 2013, the 2014 season will include four female conductors: Alsop herself (BBC Symphony Orchestra), Rebecca Miller (London Sinfonietta), Sian Edwards (BBC Concert Orchestra) and Han-Na Chang (Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra). Alsop will be conducting the UK premiere of John Adams’ saxophone concerto and Mahler’s first symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and American saxophonist Timothy McAllister (4 September). The last night itself will be helmed for the first time by Sakari Oramo, chief conductor of the BBCSO.
Rebecca Miller will be joining forces with presenter Gabby Logan to produce the first ever BBC Sport Prom (20 July, 10.30am). The programme, the result of a partnership between BBC Concert Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus, includes music by Mozart, Orff and Strauss and tv themes including Match of the Day, Test Match Special and Wimbledon.
There are 11 world premieres this season, with a further 23 European, UK or London premieres including two BBC commissions completed by the late John Tavener before his death in 2013. The world premiere of Benedict Mason’s meld (16 August), given by the Aurora Orchestra and Chantage under Nicholas Collon, is described as ‘an enigma and a spectacle’ which is designed to make full and inventive use of the Royal Albert Hall’s space.
Roger Wright, who has been director of the Proms since 2007 and controller of Radio 3 since 1998, announced that he will be leaving the BBC before the start of the Proms to take up the post of chief executive of Aldeburgh Music.
Wright had earlier said that he was ‘sorry to be leaving the BBC, having enjoyed such a long and fulfilling period at Radio 3 and the BBC Proms, and with the arts due to be such a key part of its immediate future under Tony Hall’s leadership. I am fortunate indeed to have been able to work with fantastically creative and hard-working colleagues.’
Promming tickets remain at £5 for the ninth year running.
Tickets go on sale at 9am on 17 May via bbc.co.uk/proms, by telephone on 0845 401 5040 or in person at the Royal Albert Hall