Alsop offers Olympic alternative

The Olympic Games will be held on South American soil for the first time in 2016, with Rio de Janeiro – or as locals call it cidade maravilhosa [the marvellous city] – as host.

However Brazil’s biggest city São Paulo isn’t letting Rio grab all the attention: they too have big plans. But this time it is culture rather than sport on offer as São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) and its music director Marin Alsop tour to Europe in August.

The trip takes in Edinburgh International Festival (22 August), BBC Proms (two concerts on 24 August) and Lucerne Festival (26 August). It is the second time OSESP has appeared at BBC Proms, after becoming the first Brazilian orchestra to do so back in 2012.

‘I cannot wait to show off some of South America’s finest performers,’ said Alsop. ‘Accepting these invitations at what can only be described as the world’s most prestigious music festivals is a great honour.’

Brazilian music is central to the concerts, with Villa-Lobos’ Chôros no 10 Rasga o Coraçâo and Bachianas Brasileiras no 4 – Prelude in the programme, as well as a UK premiere of Marlos Nobre’s Kabbalah.

Formed in 1954, OSESP is the largest professional orchestra in South America and plays over 100 concerts each season at Sala São Paulo – a concert hall housed in a redeveloped train station. It is known for its education projects in São Paulo, as well as for hosting Campos do Jordão Winter Music Festival.