Announced today, the 2018 BBC Proms season runs from Friday 13 July to Saturday 8 September, and features a swathe of Askonas Holt artists and touring partners. The season pays tribute to six centenaries – the end of the First World War, the birth of Leonard Bernstein, the death of Claude Debussy, the death of Lili Boulanger, the death of Hubert Parry, and the parliamentary recognition of women’s right to vote – plus features a grand total of 41 premieres; 27 world premieres and 14 UK or London premieres.
Among the many highlights, Alina Ibragimova will give the world premiere of a new violin concerto written for her by Rolf Wallin, with the Bergen Philharmonic and Edward Gardner, in a concert that marks the orchestra and its Chief Conductor’s first Proms performance together (21 August). Forming part of a larger summer festivals tour, the Bergen Philharmonic will also perform in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Warsaw. Prior to this, Edward will conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra in music by Lili Boulanger, Elgar and Vaughan Williams, with soloists Sophie Bevan and Neal Davies (12 August). Neal will make a second appearance this season, as The Learned Judge in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury at new Proms at… venue Alexandra Palace (1 September).
Continuing the theme of new music, Dame Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton will give no less than four world premieres – including two by Britten – in their Chamber Prom (6 August), and Sir George Benjamin conducts four WWI-themed world premieres in a Proms at… The Roundhouse concert with the London Sinfonietta (21 July). He will also join the National Youth Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall for a programme of Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov, Ravel, Ligeti, Debussy, and his own work Dance Figures (4 August).
We are delighted to report that several artists will make their BBC Proms debut this year:
Giovanni Antonini, who leads his ensemble Il Giardino Armonico in a late-night performance of works by Purcell, Graupner, Sartorio, Locke, Handel, Castello, Cavalli and Hasse, with soprano Anna Prohaska (2 August)
Dmytro Popov, who joins the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrés Orozco-Estrada for Verdi’s Requiem (30 August)
Also returning, after acclaimed debuts in 2017, are Karina Canellakis, who leads the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov with soloist Alisa Weilerstein (23 July), and Inon Barnatan, who performs Gershwin’s Piano Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Osmo Vänskä (6 August).
Following his performance of Book I at last year’s festival, Sir András Schiff will perform the complete Bach Well-Tempered Clavier Book II in a late-night recital (29 August). His 2017 performance won a host of five-star reviews, with critics saying ” […] this was the most riveting performance of the work I have ever heard” (★★★★★ Michael Church, The Independent ) and “Schiff recovers the truth of this music in Bach’s time and sets it free to speak to ours” (★★★★★ Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk). Watch a clip from last year here.
2004 BBC Young Musician winner Nicola Benedettiwill help celebrate the competition’s 40th anniversary, joining an array of previous winners and finalists, plus this year’s finalists, BBC Concert Orchestra and conductor Andrew Gourlay (15 July). The BBC Ten Pieces Prom returns again this year, with Rafael Payare conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two concerts featuring a range of works (29 July).
Thomas Søndergård leads the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in two performances, the first featuring works by composers Lili Boulanger and Morfydd Owen, who both died 100 years ago this year, plus Mendelssohn and Schumann (20 July). They will then perform Mahler Symphony No. 8 with soloists including Simon O’Neill and Christine Rice (22 July). BBC NOW return the following week, when Ashley Riches performs Parry’s Hear my Words, ye people under the baton of Martyn Brabbins (27 July).
Ludovic Morlot and the CBSO also pay tribute to Lili Boulanger, performing her Psalm 130 Du fond de l’abȋme alongside Debussy and Ravel (15 August), before travelling north to the Edinburgh Festival. As part of his farewell European tour with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and celebrating the orchestra’s 100th anniversary, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a programme of Liszt and Bruckner (28 August).
Proms-regular Sir Simon Rattle will conduct his 73rd concert at the festival, leading the London Symphony Orchestra in an all-Ravel programme with Magdalena Kožená as soloist for Shéhérazade and L’enfant et les sortilèges (18 August), and superstar mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato joins Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique for Berlioz’s La mort de Cléopâtre, in her first Proms performance since the Last Night in 2013 (5 September).
On 25 August – 100 years to do the day since the birth of Leonard Bernstein, whose centenary is celebrated all over the world this year – the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Wilson will give a performance of On This Town, directed by Martin Duncan. Musical theatre stars Louise Dearman and Nathaniel Hackmann play Hildy and Gabey respectively.
In addition to the Bergen Philharmonic’s Proms performance and tour, we are thrilled to bring two other international orchestras to the Royal Albert Hall this year:
The Berliner Philharmoniker will give two performances (1 & 2 September) under Chief Conductor Designate Kirill Petrenko. The first – with pianist Yuja Wang – will present works by Dukas, Prokofiev and Franz Schmidt, while their second will feature Strauss and Beethoven. As part of this year’s Chamber series, Soloists of the Berliner Philharmoniker including Emmanuel Pahud also perform at Cadogan Hall (3 September).
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons also perform twice: Mahler Symphony No. 3 with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, and voices from the CBSO and CBSO Youth Choruses (2 September), and Bernstein and Shostakovich with violinist Baiba Skride (3 September).