Debuts and history at the First Night of the BBC Proms 2019

The 125th BBC Proms will get underway this weekend, with a dynamic trio of Askonas Holt artists making sure that this year’s festival sets off with style. This year’s Proms season will see numerous appearances by Askonas Holt artists and touring partners, including highly anticipated debuts and welcome returns, resulting in eight weeks of utterly extraordinary music making.

Karina Canellakis becomes the first woman to conduct the prestigious First Night of the Proms, leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and BBC Singers in a varied and thrilling programme. The evening will open with the world premiere of Zosha Di Castri’s Long Is the Journey – Short Is the Memory, commissioned by the BBC as part of their ‘Our Classical Century‘ initiative, which marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s mission to the Moon. Dvořák’s The Golden Spinning Wheel follows, inspired by a collection of folk ballads by Karel Jaromír Erben.

The 2019 festival will also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Henry Wood, the Proms founder conductor who would introduce countless numbers of new works to British audiences. This year’s First Night programme concludes with Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, which received its UK premiere at the 1930 Proms. Soprano Asmik Grigorian (making her BBC Proms debut) and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston will join proceedings for this monumental work, presented in its final, revised 1928 version. Tenor Ladislav Elgr, bass Jan Martinik and organist Peter Holder will also join the ensemble for this performance.

The first half of this performance will be broadcast live on BBC Two, before moving to BBC Four for the second half. All concerts across the season can be heard on BBC Radio 3, including some exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews. Directly before singing Janáček’s Mass, Jennifer will be giving a live interview about preparing for this incredible evening. The interview can be heard at 8:20pm BST on BBC Radio 3.  For more information on this performance and the entire Proms season check the BBC Proms website.


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