BBC Proms unveils 2021 season

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Audiences will be welcomed back into the Royal Albert Hall

Cellist Sheku and pianist Jeneba - two of the Kanneh-Mason siblings joining Michael Morpurgo for The Carnival of the Animals (photo: BBC / Jude Edginton)
Cellist Sheku and pianist Jeneba - two of the Kanneh-Mason siblings joining Michael Morpurgo for The Carnival of the Animals (photo: BBC / Jude Edginton)

The BBC Proms has unveiled a summer season of 52 concerts across 44 days, with audiences being welcomed back into the Royal Albert Hall.

The announcement will be a boost to the UK live music sector, one particularly devastated by the closures of concert halls throughout most of the pandemic, and follows last year's Proms which were all performed to an empty venue.

With international travel for musicians still subject to challenges and checks the season has a strong focus on British ensembles and artists, with some of the UK's most admired soloists and conductors scheduled to appear, including violinist Nicola Benedetti, singers Karen Cargill, Lucy Crowe, Sally Matthews, Christine Rice and Roderick Williams, conductors Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, John Wilson and Sir Simon Rattle, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor and cellist Steven Isserlis, while one concert will feature the Kanneh-Mason siblings and author Michael Morpurgo performing Saint-Saëns's The Carnival of the Animals.

International artists set to visit include pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Kirill Gerstein, violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Sol Gabetta, conductors Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Vladimir Jurowski, and accordionist Ksenija Sidorova. Proms debuts will be made by artists and ensembles including Manchester Collective, tenor Freddie De Tommaso, conductor Jonathon Heyward, the Sinfonia of London, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson and soprano Nardus Williams.

The season, the Prom's 150th, will open on July 30 with Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, conducted by Dalia Stasevska, and the world premiere of When Soft Voices Die, a companion piece by Sir James MacMillan setting texts by Shelley, followed by Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with organist Daniel Hyde. Other new commissions throughout the season will come from Augusta Read Thomas, George Benjamin, Britta Byström, Grace-Evangeline Mason and Gity Razaz.

David Pickard, Director of the Proms, said: ‘Planning a Proms season in a pandemic isn’t easy. We have relied on the creativity and collaboration of many people to offer a programme of such ambition, scale and quality, and are proud to celebrate so much outstanding British talent this summer. We are looking forward to welcoming live audiences back to the Royal Albert Hall in its 150th anniversary year, and to sharing six weeks of live music with audiences in the Hall and at home on BBC Radio 3 and on BBC TV. I hope you will join us for a summer filled with music.’

For more details, visit bbc.co.uk/proms

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