19 July 2019
By Ellie Palmer
The annual music festival runs from 19 July - 14 September
Big names from the piano world head to the Royal Albert Hall this summer as part of the 125th instalment of the BBC Proms. This year also marks 150 years since the birth of its founder, Sir Henry Wood, who enjoyed conducting from its podium for nearly half a century. We've picked out 7 pianists that we think you should keep an eye on this year.
1. Yeol Eum Son
The first pianist to appear in this year’s season is Pianist 102 cover star Yeol Eum Son, who makes her official Proms debut. The South Korean pianist performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 15 K450 on 23 July with the BBC Philharmonic and conductor Omer Meir Wellber.
2. Eric Lu
© Warner Classics
Chinese-American pianist Eric Lu – who has been busy touring China, Russia, Sweden, Denmark and France since winning The Leeds back in September 2018 – finds the time to stopover in London for his Proms debut. He will play a Mozart concerto too – No 23 K488 – appearing on 1 September with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (also making its debut), conducted by Long Yu. Lu appeared on the cover of issue 106 of Pianist.
3. Martha Argerich
© Belinda Lawley
Martha Argerich fans will be thrilled to see her return to the Proms stage since her last appearance three years ago. Conductor Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra join Argerich for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 on 12 August. Argerich first appeared at the Proms in 1966 where she was given the honour of closing the season.
4. Murray Perahia
© Felix Broede Photos
Another legend of the piano, Murray Perahia, appears with equal legends Bernard Haitink and the Vienna Philharmonic on 3 September (the Orchestra recently named Haitink as Honorary Member). In the first of two appearances by the Orchestra, they will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 before embarking on Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony in the second half.
5. Yuja Wang
More magic two days later (5 September) when Yuja Wang performs Rachmaninov’s warhorse third Piano Concerto. She is joined by the Staatskapelle Dresden and Myung-Whun Chung for a programme that includes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2. Wang dazzled at last year’s Proms (with Prokofiev third) and made an equally stunning impact as Pianist 105 cover artist.
6. Stephen Hough
© Andrew Crowley
2019 marks 200 years since the births of Queen Victoria and Clara Schumann. To honour the former, Stephen Hough plays Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No 1 on 16 August (the composer was Queen Victoria’s preferred composer) with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Adám Fischer. Hough will be playing on one of Queen Victoria’s privately-owned grand pianos; the elaborately decorated 1856 Erard grand piano will be loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. What a treat that should be!
7. Mariam Batsashvili
© Attila Kleb
Respects are paid to Clara Schumann two days later when newcomer to the Proms Mariam Batsashvili plays her Piano Concerto (18 August) with the Ulster Orchestra and Rafael Payare. And on 26 August, BBC Radio 3 New Generation artists the Amatis Piano Trio perform Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio alongside a number of chamber music works by both Clara and Robert.
A taster of the rest
Leif Ove Andsnes/Britten Concerto (1 Aug); Alexander Ghindin/Rachmaninov Concerto No 1 (17 Aug); Andreas Haefliger/Dieter Ammann Concerto (19 Aug); Seong-Jin Cho/ Prokofiev Concerto No 2 (24 Aug) and Marc-André Hamelin/Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos (28 Aug).
Main Photo: © BBC