BBC Proms 2019: programme revealed

The BBC today announced the programme for the 125th BBC Proms, which begin on Friday 15 July and bring eight weeks of extraordinary music-making from around the world to London. Askonas Holt artists and touring partners feature across the season, from first night to last.

Conductor Karina Canellakis returns for the third consecutive year, this time for the prestigious First Night. She conducts a programme that opens with the world premiere of Zosha Di Castri Long Is the Journey – Short Is the Memory, followed by Dvořák’s The Golden Spinning Wheel and Janáček’s monumental Glagolitic Mass. Karina is joined on stage by Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian, in her BBC Proms debut, and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston.

Joining Asmik in making BBC Proms debuts:

As well as celebrating the 150th birthday of Sir Henry Wood, the season explores the sound of space 50 years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon including with several new BBC commissions, starting with the FNOTP’s world premiere. Later in the season, Conductor Laureate Tadaaki Otaka and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales give the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ The Moon, in a programme including Takemitsu’s Twill by Twilight, Rachmaninov’s The Bells, and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances (Prom 27). Tadaaki first appeared at the BBC Proms with BBC NOW in 1988, and in 2017 celebrated his impressive unbroken 30-year relationship with the orchestra.

Continuing this theme, the opening weekend features performances from Kirill Karabits, who conducts the Bournemouth Symphony in a programme of 20th century classics including Holst’s The Planets (Prom 4), and Edward Gardner, who leads an orchestra of musicians from both the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Juilliard School, New York in the UK premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir Metacosmos – a musical metaphor for falling into a black hole (Prom 6). Edward will also conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra later in the season, in a programme of Britten and Mahler (Prom 18).

Youth ensembles are once again a feature; less than a week after the Orchestra of the RAM and Juilliard School, the Royal Albert Hall will welcome the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, who are joined by Nicola Benedetti for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (Prom 12).

Askonas Holt is thrilled to continue our relationship with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, who return to the Proms following their debut in 2013. Forming part of their summer tour, the orchestra are joined by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato for Berlioz’s Les nuits d’ete and conductor Antonio Pappano (Prom 32).

In addition to the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the NYO-USA to London, our Tours & Projects department are delighted to be working with the following orchestras:

The Proms at… Cadogan Hall series returns, including a Baroque journey through Europe from Kristian Bezuidenhout and The English Concert (Proms at… CH 3), and a recital of songs from across Europe by Louise Alder and Gary Matthewman (Proms at… CH 5).

Marking 150 years since Berlioz’s death, the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder perform L’enfance du Christ, with soloists Dame Sarah Connolly and Neal Davies (Prom 37), and Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Benvenuto Cellini, with Matthew Rose as Balducci and Ashley Riches as Bernardino (Prom 59). Dame Sarah also performs Elgar’s The Music Makers with the BBC Symphony and Sir Andrew Davis (Prom 53).

Additional vocal performances at this year’s Proms include:

  • Haydn’s The Creation is performed for the first time in a decade, with tenor Benjamin Hulett (Prom 14)
  • Christina Gansch performs Schubert’s Einsamkeit for soprano and orchestra with BBC Symphony and Semyon Bychkov (Prom 33)
  • Sir Simon Rattle leads the London Symphony Orchestra in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, with a 300-strong choir and Canadian baritone Gerald Finley as soloist (Prom 44)
  • Glyndebourne’s annual trip brings The Magic Flute to the RAH, with Brindley Sherratt as Sarastro (Prom 51)

Following his debut in 2017, Alexander Gavrylyuk returns to give two performances of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the BBC Philharmonic and Ben Gernon (Prom 23 & 24). And, in a Proms first, Rafael Payare conducts the Ulster Orchestra for the Proms premiere of Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto (Prom 42).

Russian soprano Aida Garifullina will join presenter Michael Ball and the BBC Concert Orchestra for Proms in the Park on the last night of the season. The popular open-air concert in London’s Hyde Park celebrates the night with a host of stars from the worlds of classical music, rock and pop, choirs and musical theatre – nearly 150 performers in all!

All concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, with several also broadcast on BBC TV. Find out more on the Proms website.

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