BBC Proms Preview: from Berlioz to Bollywood

The 2023 BBC Proms is the world’s largest classical music festival, offering eight weeks of outstanding music-making from orchestras, conductors and soloists from around the world. With over 80 concerts featuring old favourites, new talents and premieres, the festival will take its audience on a diverse and exciting musical journey. IAM recommends 10 unmissable events

  1. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov’s birth 
    The Proms marks the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov’s birth with performances of 11 of his works including his Piano Concerto No.1, performed by Sir Stephen Hough (18 July); his choral symphony, The Bells, performed by the Hallé, BBC Chorus and Hallé Choir (26 July) and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (4 August), performed by pianist Yuja Wang. 
  1. Mariza debuts Fado (21 July) 
    This year marks the first time that Fado music has been performed at the Proms. Award-winning singer Mariza who makes her Proms debut shares this “musical soul” of Portugal. 
  1. Tribute to Bollywood legend (28 July) 
    Soloist Palak Muchhal and her brother Palash Muchhal join the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to pay tribute to Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar, whose songs provided the soundtrack for generations of cinemagoers. 
  1. Late night Proms (9 August) 
    This popular BBC Sounds Mindful Mix Prom is a late-night, immersive musical meditation combining the sounds of piano, strings and voices as they explore the themes of night, stillness and prayer. Join pianist Ola Gjeilo, the Carducci String Quartet and VOCES8 as they perform works by composers including Ola Gjeilo, Radiohead, Philip Glass, Caroline Shaw and the world premiere of Roxana Panufnik’s Floral Tribute.  
  1. Budapest Festival Orchestra’s “Audience Choice” (13 August) 
    The Budapest Festival Orchestra, under Iván Fischer, returns to the Proms with its show stopping “Audience Choice” concert. Guests will choose the evening’s programme by voting for their favourites works from a list of 250 dances, overtures, marches and symphonic movements.  
  1. UK premiere of György Kurtág’s Endgame (17 August) 
    Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Frode Olsen, Morgan Moody, Hilary Summers, and Leonardo Cortellazzi in the UK premier of György Kurtág’s adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play Endgame (“Fin de partie”). 
  1. Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri (22 August) 
    Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus present the first complete performance of Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri at the Proms. Part oratorio and part opera, this choral and orchestral cycle tells the story of Peri, the child of a fallen angel and a mortal, who makes a sequence of offerings to the guardians of Paradise in an attempt to gain entry. Soprano Lucy Crowe leads a brilliant international cast. 
  1. European premieres for Boston Symphony Orchestra (25 & 26 August)  
    The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and conductor Andris Nelsons will perform two European premieres: Julia Adolphe’s Makeshift Castle (25 August) and Carlos Simon’s Four Black American Dances (26 August). 
    The BSO is one of eight international orchestras that are performing at the Proms, including Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (16 July), Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra (1 August), Budapest Festival Orchestra (12 & 13 August), Les Siècles (20 August), Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich (30 August), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (31 August) and Pygmalion (7 September). 
  1. The Rite by Heart (2 September) 
    In its greatest challenge yet, Aurora Orchestra will apply its innovative memorisation technique to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The orchestra will perform this fiendish work under the direction of conductor Nicholas Collon.  
  1. Berlioz’s The Trojans (3 September) 
    Bringing his love of Berlioz to the Proms, Sir John Eliot Gardiner is joined by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir for The Trojans, a five-act epic masterpiece which retells the fall of Troy and the doomed love of Dido and Aeneas. The cast includes Alice Coote and “phenomenal” American tenor Michael Spyres. 

The 2023 BBC Proms takes place from 14 July to 9 September at the Royal Albert Hall. For more information or to book tickets click here