The Ultimate Guide to This Year’s BBC Proms in London
Classical music with a side plate of pop and rap—that’s the dictum of this year’s BBC Proms line-up. Marking its 120th anniversary in 2015, Proms is the world’s longest-running music festival, and it returns this week. The schedule is dynamic, with 32 premieres and an inimitable closing night on the green grass of Hyde Park headlined by The Jacksons (yes, those Jacksons).
The robust schedule runs from July 17 until September 12, so there’s plenty to see. The Proms definition of classical music is meandering—stalwart broadcaster Sir David Attenborough narrates an evening against a cacophonous soundtrack composed by Murray Gold at the Royal Albert Hall on August 30, and composer Hugh Wood takes John Donne’s text through troughs and peaks in his new work, Epithalamion, on July 22.
At the end of July, Alina Ibragimova will be alone on the formidable stage of the Royal Albert Hall with only her violin, to perform Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas: a single sound with explosive results.
More cutting-edge, rapper Wretch 32 and Krept & Konan, among others, will give you a chance to dust off your dancing shoes when they perform “grime symphony,” composed by Jules Buckley for the Radio 1Xtra, on August 12. While we can’t promise Benedict Cumberbatch, August 16 plays host to a Sherlock prom—music inspired by the super sleuth—performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Meanwhile, the fifth of September is poised for an occasion not-to-be missed, beginning with an ode to Bernstein, stage and screen, performed by the John Wilson Orchestra. It’s the closest you can get to Broadway without spending a cent on airfare. Finish the evening with pop-culture’s favorite cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who will be strumming his strings to Bachs six Suites (all in one evening) for a late-night prom.
Bridget Arsenault is the associate editor, print and digital at Vanity Fair UK. and the co-director of the Bright Young Things Film Club. She covers the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure; follow her on Twitter at @bridget_ruth.