On August 10th, The Proms (or more formally, the Henry Woods Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC) will celebrate their 120th season of music making. Held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, with the BBC Orchestra, The Proms are an annual celebration of music of all genres. They’re called the proms because they were originally concerts where the audience could “promenade” through the park as they listened to the music! Today, in Royal Albert Hall, there is a large standing-only section on the floor of the hall where the audience gets up to some enjoyable shenanigans, if not actual “promenading.” Conductor Jiri Behlolavek has described The Proms as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival.”
The Proms are broadcast in their entirety by the BBC on radio and tv, and they are also available to the wider public through radio podcasts and their streaming service. The programming is eclectic and interesting, often combining commissions, well-known favorites, and works that have escaped public scrutiny and have been hidden in the BBC vault. The artists include some of the finest musicians in the world, alongside younger, aspiring artists. This year’s opening concert included one of the most enjoyable choral works to sing: Belshazzar’s Feast by William Walton.
I encourage you to browse the concert offerings. You will find music to inspire, entertain and challenge. And you may find a new favourite artist or work. Enjoy!
BBC Opening Night of The Proms 2015
Part 1, including Carpenter, Nielsen and Mozart
Part 2, including Sibelius and Walton