The programme for the BBC Proms 2019 was announced on April 17 and numerous works by Wise Music composers will be performed in the festival. Running from July 19 to September 14, the BBC Proms feature a wide range of works from a long list of composers including two world premieres of BBC commissions, one European premiere and one UK premiere as well as three performances of works by BBC Singers Composer in Association Judith Weir.
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21 July - PROM 4: Samuel Barber Violin Concerto
Nemanja Radulović, violin / Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Kirill Karabits, conductor
A concert of 20th-century classics from Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra continues with performances of The Planets and Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Parting these energetic titans will be the Violin Concerto by Samuel Barber, its exquisite slow movement offering a contrasting moment of contemplation. Dynamic Franco-Serbian violinist Nemanja Radulović makes his Proms debut as soloist.
22 July - PROM 6: Anna Thorvaldsdottir METACOSMOS (UK Premiere)
Juilliard/RAM Orchestra / Edward Gardner, conductor
Students of New York’s Juilliard School and London’s Royal Academy of Music will join forces under the baton of Edward Gardner for the highly-anticipated UK premiere of the most recent orchestral work from Anna Thorvaldsdottir. METACOSMOS was premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 2018 and portrays what the Icelandic composer describes as ‘the natural balance between beauty and chaos’ in a work initially inspired by deep space. METACOSMOS is joined by Britten’s Violin Concerto and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
28 July - PROM 13: Olivier Messiaen Des canyons aux étoiles
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo, conductor
The ‘wild and colourful beauty’ of Arizona inspired one of the 20th century’s most striking works – a sprawling sonic meditation in which birdsong mingles with desert winds. Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC SO with soloists including Steven Osborne.
3 August - PROM 20: Jean Sibelius Symphony No 5 (original version, 1915)
Pekka Kuusisto, violin / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
‘It is as if God Almighty had thrown down pieces of a mosaic for heaven’s floor and asked me to find out what was the original pattern’ Sibelius noted in his diary of his iconic symphony. Prom 20 is the first of two performances at this year’s festival featuring Symphony No 5. This less commonly-heard, original version shares more stylistic features with his more modernist Symphony No 4 than the 1919 revision. For those intrigued by the composer’s habit for self-criticism and revision, make sure you catch that version at Prom 67 (8 September). Pekka Kuusisto opens the concert with Sibelius’ sweeping Violin Concerto.
4 August – PROM 22: Outi Tarkiainen Midnight Sun Variations
(World Premiere, BBC commission)
BBC Philharmonic / John Storgårds, conductor
The light of the summer sky above the Arctic provided the starting point for Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen’s new orchestral work, a BBC commission, which draws parallels between the natural world and the human life cycle.
Tarkiainen was born in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland and is active in the worlds of both jazz and classical music. She has been Composer in Residence with Norrbotten Big Band (2017) and at the Festival de Musique Classique d’Uzerche in France (2015) and was Co-Artistic Director of the Silence Festival in Lapland from 2014 to 2018. The landscape and culture of Tarkiainen’s native region play an important role in her work, perhaps best illustrated in her largest piece to date, The Earth, Spring’s Daughter, an orchestral song cycle to texts by Sami poets.
12 August – PROM 34: Witold Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra
West–Eastern Divan Orchestra / Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Internationally celebrated conductor Daniel Barenboim and his pioneering West–Eastern Divan Orchestra are joined by the legendary Martha Argerich for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1, and perhaps Lutosławski’s most famous work, Concerto for Orchestra. Full of bracing vitality, 12-tonal exploration and folk-inspired music, the concerto is a 20th-Century classic. For those looking explore it even further, musicologist Adrian Thomas leads a discussion ahead of the performance at Imperial College London.
13 August - PROM 35: Judith Weir Sixty Salutations
(World premiere, BBC commission)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins, conductor
Judith Weir is one of 14 composers who has contributed to a new piece in celebration of conductor Martyn Brabbins' 60th birthday. The joint commission is a series of variations on an original theme modelled on Elgar's Enigma Variations and will be premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Brabbins conducting.
17 August - Proms at…Holy Sepulchre London: Musgrave Rorate Coeli & Weir: Missa del Cid
BBC Singers / Sofi Jeannin, conductor
The BBC Singers take the Proms to London’s ‘Musicians’ Church’ for a concert of English choral pieces spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. Audiences will be treated to two substantial and challenging works for unaccompanied choir: Rorate Coeli, a setting of two interleaved poems of the famous Scottish poet William Dunbar (written circa 1500) and Missa del Cid, a short choral selection from the vast Spanish medieval epic poem Poema De Mio Cid which chronicles the life and times of the legendary warlord and outlaw ‘El Cid’. Audiences can also expect to hear works by Britten, Walton, Ireland, Maconchy, Vaughan Williams and Joanna Lee.
29 August - PROM 53: Hugh Wood Scenes from Comus
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Elder statesman of English Classical music, Hugh Wood returns to the Proms after the success of his Donne orchestral cantata Epithalamion at the Proms in 2015. Now, it's one of his earlier modern lyrical orchestral scores that features: Scenes from Comus, a musical setting of episodes from Milton’s masque originally commissioned by the Proms in 1965. This is programmed alongside Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Elgar’s great choral work The Music Makers.
29 August - PROM 54: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music
Carleen Anderson and the UK Vocal Assembly / Nu Civilisation Orchestra / Peter Edwards, conductor
Jazz, showbiz swagger and spirituality come together as never before in Duke Ellington’s spectacular Sacred Concerts. Described by Ellington himself as ‘the most important thing I have ever done’, these sacred revues, blending big-band jazz, gospel and Broadway-style melodies, bring all the legendary musician’s originality and energy to Christian subjects, and generated three critically acclaimed, boundary-crossing albums. Drawing on these, the Proms premieres a brand-new Sacred Concert – an exhilarating evening of dance, song and spectacle.
31 August - PROM 56: John Ireland Piano Concerto
Leon McCawley, piano / BBC Concert Orchestra / Bramwell Tovey
John Ireland's rich Ravel and Prokofiev-inspired Piano Concerto was premiered in 1930 by Henry Wood. It features here in a special concert exploring the rich musical legacy of Proms-founder, who celebrates his 150th anniversary this year. A diverse programme of works premiered and championed by the conductor includes music by Wagner, Ravel and Granados.
08 September – PROM 66: John Luther Adams In the Name of the Earth (European Premiere)
Numerous assembled choirs / Simon Halsey, conductor
Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Luther Adams is a master of large-scale musical spectacles – sonic installations that take the natural world not just as their inspiration but also as a stage. In the Name of the Earth celebrates the elements in a musical meditation on rivers, lakes, mountains and deserts. The Proms audience will be immersed in the sound of more than 600 singers placed around the auditorium. Marshalling these huge vocal forces are conductors Neville Creed, Neil Ferris, Simon Halsey and David Temple.
08 September – PROM 67: Judith Weir Forest & Jean Sibelius Symphony No 5 (final version, 1919)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo, conductor
Judith Weir and Jean Sibelius are paired in this programme inspired by nature. Weir’s Forest grows from a handful of instrumental lines which bloom into a richly-coloured orchestral score. Sibelius’ fifth symphony, in part inspired by the sight of 16 swans taking flight, is heard here in its final (1919) version in which the composer adopts a more direct, classical approach.
09 September – Proms at...Cadogan Hall 8: Hans Abrahamsen Herbstlied
Knussen Chamber Orchestra / Ryan Wigglesworth, conductor
The much-loved giant of British contemporary music Oliver Knussen is celebrated a year on from his death in a special performance by the newly formed Knussen Chamber Orchestra. Made up of orchestral principals and rising young musicians from across the UK, the ensemble is conducted by Knussen’s protégé Ryan Wigglesworth.
11 September – PROM 71: Bach Night
Dunedin Consort / John Butt, conductor
Nico Muhly is one of four composers who has been commissioned to write a short piece for the period music ensemble the Dunedin Consort inspired by dance movements from J S Bach’s orchestral suites.
14 September – Last Night of the Proms: Manuel de Falla The Three Cornered Hat Suite No 2
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
Manuel de Falla’s fiery ballet The Three Cornered Hat turns 100 this year, having premiered in Leicester Square’s dominating Alhambra Theatre in 1919. The Proms marks this wonderful milestone with a performance of the Suite No 2. From orchestral dances and marches to songs and arias, world premieres to traditional favourites, this year’s Last Night of the Proms is a spectacular climax to the world’s greatest classical music festival.