15 pianists to look out for at this year's BBC Proms


28 July 2023
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By Ellie Palmer
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There's plenty of pianistic content to feast your eyes (and ears) on at this year's BBC Proms! Let's take a look...

All events can be streamed on BBC iPlayer

 

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Prom 22: Isata Kanneh-Mason plays Prokofiev

19:00 Tue 1 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Isata Kanneh-Mason ©Robin Clewley

Star pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason makes her solo debut at the Proms in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, in which rhapsodic melody meets restless rhythmic exuberance. 

 

 

Yuja Wang

Prom 27: Yuja Wang plays Rachmaninov

19:30 Fri 4 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Yuja Wang  ©Kirk Edwards

After an ‘extraordinary’ Proms debut last season, rising-star conductor Klaus Mäkelä is reunited with sensational pianist Yuja Wang for Rachmaninov’s glittering Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – its mercurial moods and technical demands a tour de force for any soloist. 

 

 

Benjamin Grosvenor*

Prom 30: Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto

*UPDATE: Replaced by Alim Beisembayev*

19:30 Sun 6 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Benjamin Grosvenor ©Marco Borggreve

John Wilson and his orchestral supergroup the Sinfonia of London return to the Proms to perform Rachmaninov’s famous Second Piano Concerto with British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor.

 
 
Sir András Schiff

Prom 37: Budapest Festival Orchestra

19:30 Sat 12 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Sir András Schiff  ©Nadia F Romanini

 The Budapest Festival Orchestra and founder-conductor Iván Fischer are joined by celebrated fellow Hungarian Sir András Schiff for one of the great Romantic piano concertos – Schumann’s generous, poetic bravura piece that renegotiates the relationship between soloist and orchestra.

 

 

Sir András Schiff

Prom 39: Ligeti, Bartók and Beethoven

19:30 Sun 13 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Schiff returns the following day as soloist in Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto, an exquisite, elegiac musical farewell. 

 

 

Martin Helmchen

Prom 40: Martin Helmchen plays Brahms

19:30 Mon 14 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Martin Helmchen ©Giorgia Bertazzi

Award-winning German pianist Martin Helmchen makes his Proms debut as soloist in Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, a vast work full of mercurial mood swings and technical demands. 

 

 

Alexandre Kantorow

Prom 41: Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto

19:30 Tue 15 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Alexandre Kantorow ©Sasha Gusov

Tchaikovsky Competition-winner Alexandre Kantorow has been hailed as ‘Liszt reincarnated’ and a ‘fire-breathing virtuoso’. Still in his twenties, the young pianist makes a much-anticipated Proms debut, joining Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as soloist in Beethoven’s poetic Piano Concerto No. 4. 

 

 

Seong-Jin Cho

Prom 42: Elgar, Chopin and Strauss

19:30 Wed 16 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Seong-Jin Cho ©Christoph Koestlin/DG

International Chopin Piano Competition-winner Seong-Jin Cho is one of the world’s most exciting young pianists, praised for his ‘remarkable technique’ and the elegance of his interpretations. Who better to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 – a heady combination of brilliance and poetry, its slow movement a vision of ‘a beloved landscape on a moonlit spring night’. 

 

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Pavel Kolesnikov

Prom 44: Stravinsky’s The Firebird

19:30 Fri 18 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Pavel Kolesnikov ©Eva Vermandel

Prize-winning pianist Pavel Kolesnikov joins the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Dmitry Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major.

 

 

Alexander Melnikov

Prom 47: Les Siècles plays Ligeti and Mozart

19:30 Sun 20 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Alexander Melnikov

François-Xavier Roth’s award-winning orchestra Les Siècles presents music from sonic pioneer György Ligeti alongside two late works by Mozart. Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov is the soloist in the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 23.

 

 

 

Cory Henry

Prom 48: Stevie Wonder's Innervisions with Jules Buckley Orchestra and Cory Henry

20:00 Mon 21 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Cory Henry © Raymond Alva Photography

The BBC Proms celebrates some of Stevie Wonder’s most iconic work this year as conductor Jules Buckley and his Orchestra are joined by Cory Henry: singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and keyboardist, for performances including Higher GroundLiving for the City and Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing.

 

 

Jean‚ÄźYves Thibaudet

Prom 55: Gershwin’s Piano Concerto

19:30 Sat 26 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Jean-Yves Thibaudet ©E. Caren

Dance pulses through this second concert from Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (see Prom 52). Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the soloist in Gershwin’s Piano Concerto, with its bluesy slow movement and hot, frenzied finale.

 

 

Kirill Gerstein

Prom 60: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

19:30 Thu 31 Aug 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Kirill Gerstein ©Marco Borggreve

The Thomas Adès Piano Concerto will be performed here by Kirill Gerstein, who gave the 2019 premiere.

 

 

Steven Osborne

Proms at Perth

14:00 Sun 3 Sep 2023 Perth Concert Hall

Steven Osborne ©Benjamin Ealovega

Pianist Steven Osborne joins the award-winning Heath Quartet for a chamber concert of Classical traditions and reinventions. Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet harks back to the chamber music of Haydn and his predecessors, revisiting 18th-century forms and gestures through his own distinctive lens. Haydn’s own String Quartet in E flat major is paired with Tippett’s Piano Sonata No. 2, which captures the fragmentary brilliance of its original title, ‘Mosaics’.

 

 

Nobuyuki Tsujii

Prom 70: Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto

19:30 Fri 8 Sep 2023 Royal Albert Hall

Nobuyuki Tsujii

Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii returns as soloist in Rachmaninov’s demanding Piano Concerto No. 3 alongside the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and its Venezuelan-born Chief Conductor Domingo Hindoyan.

 

 

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