Tours & Projects at the BBC Proms 2019

Our Tours & Projects department have had yet another busy summer, with performances across the globe from Wolf Trap and the Ravinia Festival in the US, to bringing NYO Jazz to Asia. We’ve had the privilege of working with four exceptional youth ensembles, taking the LSO with Sir Simon Rattle to South America for the first time, and managing the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa’s 50th anniversary tour.

As ever, the BBC Proms is a key feature of our late-summer touring activity, with the team returning this year to the Royal Albert Hall with no less than five diverse ensembles: Orchestre de Paris, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Dresden.

Askonas Holt’s long relationship with the Royal Albert Hall can be traced back over 140 years. Indeed, our namesake, Harold Holt, organised many international and celebrity concert series at the hall (including the prestigious “Harold Holt Sunday Concerts”), and Holt’s predecessor, Alfred Schultz-Curtius, was likely connected to RAH concerts conducted by Richard Wagner in 1877.

Orchestre de Paris & NYO-USA

Already under our belts are extraordinary performances by both the Orchestre de Paris, under outgoing Music Director Daniel Harding, and the National Youth Orchestra of USA with Sir Antonio Pappano and soloists Joyce DiDonato and Magdalena Kožená.

Listen again to Daniel’s performance with Orchestra de Paris on BBC Sounds.

Watch the NYO-USA’s performance of Strauss’ iconic Alpine Symphony and Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été on BBC FOUR here [available until 15 September].

“…this band of 16 to 19-year-olds displayed sensitivity and nuance, and even in Strauss’s extravagant An Alpine Symphony it was disciplined precision that made the performance a triumph.”
The Times *****

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Eric Lu & Long Yu

Joined by fellow Proms debutant Eric Lu, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra gives its first performance at the Proms as part of its 140th anniversary world tour on 1 September. Conducted by Music Director Long Yu, they present a programme that combines works by Qigang Chen, Mozart and Rachmaninov. Speaking about his mission to break down cultural boundaries, the Chinese conductor told us last year:

“It sounds very sexy to talk about ‘East’ and ‘West’ today, but to me, music is music, and I don’t feel it is necessary to divide it into ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’. I don’t think that I have different feelings in my heart, just because of where I’m from. In the same way, I don’t think I understand Mahler or Beethoven in an ‘Eastern’ way – maybe I interpret it in a particular way because of my personal experience – but not because I’m Chinese.”
Long Yu

Join Shanghai Symphony Orchestra live on BBC Radio 3 or watch the concert on BBC FOUR on 6 September.

Vienna Philharmonic & Staatskapelle Dresden

Next week, the Vienna Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Dresden return to the Proms with the former giving performances on 3 & 4 September and the latter on 5 September.

Conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden, Myung Whun-Chung will be at the BBC Proms for the first time since 2014, as part of the orchestra’s summer festivals tour. Following three performances in Dresden, AH brings the orchestra to Dublin (where it opens the NCH’s 2019-2020 season) and London, before it continues onto festivals in Gstaad and Bucharest.

In a year that marks both his 90th birthday and the 65th anniversary of his conducting debut, Bernard Haitink will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic with soloist Emanuel Ax in a programme of Bruckner and Beethoven. The orchestra returns the following night with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and Leonidas Kavakos, in a programme of Dvořák and Korngold.

Learn more about Haitink’s relationship with the Proms in this 2016 article celebrating 50 years since his Proms debut.

Looking Ahead

Over the next few months, the team looks forward to a range of projects, including: our first tour with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, which sees the orchestra make its debut trip to South America; the first performances for Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in Hong Kong and China (including three concerts celebrating the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s 30th anniversary); and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård travel to Paris for La Seine Musicale’s Îlot Écosse series.

Meet the tours team here.

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