BBC Proms announces details of unique 2020 edition


By Ellie Palmer

28 May 2020

This year's Proms, which will mark 125 years since the first instalment, will take place from 17 July to 12 September

The BBC has announced full details of this year's BBC Proms.

Covid-19 has, as expected, greatly affected the make-up of this year's edition. In response, this year's Proms will celebrate the past, reflect on the present and build for the future.

A focus on the past allows for archived Proms material to feature regularly across BBC radio, television, and online.

From Friday 28 August the focus shifts to the present, with the ambition to have musicians performing live at the Royal Albert Hall across the final two weeks of the season, culminating in a poignant and unique Last Night of the Proms. However, details of how these performances will work – and indeed who will perform – will be announced nearer the time in order to abide by government guidelines as accurately as possible.

A nod to the future features in the form of the Digital Proms, which begins with a unique First Night commission performed by all the BBC Orchestras and BBC Singers. Featuring over 350 musicians, this Grand Virtual Orchestra will see all the groups performing together. To mark the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven's birth, a new mash-up of Beethoven's 9 symphonies has been specially created by Iain Farrington, which will be a spectacular digital springboard for the summer.

Elsewhere, audiences this year will play a unique role in helping shape the programme. Radio 3 is inviting listeners to share their favourite ever Proms moments and will take inspiration from these and reflect them on air, making this truly the People’s Proms.

David Pickard, Director BBC Proms, said: “These are challenging times for our nation and the rest of the world, but they show that we need music and the creative industries more than ever. This year it is not going to be the Proms as we know them, but the Proms as we need them. We will provide a stimulating and enriching musical summer for both loyal Proms audiences and people discovering the riches we have to offer for the first time.”

Artists have yet to be announced so we don’t yet know which (if any) pianists will be appearing. But we’re sure there will be some great names!

Main image: © Chris Christodoulou