2019 BBC Proms announced8:40, 17th April 2019
The 2019 BBC Proms season has been announced.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Proms founder Sir Henry Wood’s birth, and to celebrate this the annual festival continues Wood’s mission to ‘bring the best classical music to the widest possible audience’.
The 2019 season also honours 50 years since the Apollo 11 landed on the moon, with programmes exploring how composers over the centuries have imagined the sound of space. The opening work will be a world premiere from Zosha Di Castri – Long is the Journey, Short is the Memory – inspired by the moon landings.
Other highlights on this theme include the UK premiere of Anna Thorvalsdottir’s Metacosmos – a musical metaphor for falling into a black hole; and Public Service Broadcasting will orchestrate their 2015 concept album The Race for Space.
Alongside more traditional offerings (Murray Perahia performing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic), this year will include a Prom dedicated to Nina Simone, exploring her background and influence, and a ‘late-night mixtape’ Prom, bringing together a range of classical and contemporary sounds.
Another core theme of this year’s season is climate change. The Lost Words Prom, based on Robert MacFarlane’s and Jackie Morris’s book about the disappearing language of nature, will feature spoken word and beat-boxing. John Luther Adams’s In the Name of the Earth – a huge, landscape-inspired choral work – will feature four community choirs of over 600 singers. A brand new work by Hans Zimmer, Earth, will receive its world premiere.
New music highlights include Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood curating a Late Night Prom culminating in the world premiere of his Horror vacui. The Proms will travel to Battersea Arts Centre to showcase provocative composer-performers including Jennifer Walshe and Oliver Coates. Elsewhere, Martyn Brabbins present a 21st-century companion to Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations, featuring music by 14 living composers including Sally Beamish, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Judith Weir.
Director of the Proms David Pickard said: ‘The Proms 2019 gives a snapshot of all that is most exciting in our musical world today. It is the chance to hear some of the most celebrated ensembles and artists from across the globe, a showcase for the vibrant orchestral life that exists in the UK, and a celebration of the diversity of contemporary music in the 21st century.
‘All of this is underpinned by the proud tradition of ‘Promming’, which allows audiences to enjoy this vast range of music for £6 per concert. As we celebrate 150 years since Henry Wood’s birth, the Proms continues to explore new ground whilst celebrating the founding principles of the festival – to bring the best classical music to the widest possible audience.’
As usual, BBC Radio3 will broadcast every concert, and audiences will now be able to access all the Proms through the BBC Sounds app. 25 Proms will be broadcast on TV, and the Proms magazine show returns to BBC Two on Saturday nights throughout the festival.