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BBC Proms Will Go Ahead in a New Format

The organisers behind the BBC Proms have stated that they are standing with music lovers everywhere, and musicians around the world affected by Covid-19, and that this year they plan to host the “Not the proms as we know them, the Proms as we need them.”

Published: 29 May 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:30 PM
Photograph of the Royal Albert Hall in the evening
The organisers have stated that they will be working strictly within the government advice at the time with the hope of presenting live performance to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and iPlayer

125 years on from its creation, the Proms will once again provide a remarkable summer of music, fulfilling founder-conductor Sir Henry Wood’s vision to, “bring the greatest classical music to the widest possible audience”.

The current situation with COVID-19 means the season that had been originally planned is sadly no longer possible. Instead the Proms in 2020 have been reconceived in a different format. However, the aim remains the same – to create the world’s greatest classical music festival by reflecting world class music-making from leading artists around the globe, highlighting emerging talent, and featuring work by some of today’s most exciting and innovative composers.

The 2020 Proms will celebrate the past, reflect on the present and build for the future, running from 17 July to 12 September 2020.

A new format for the Proms

Plans for moving forward with the 2020 Proms include:

  • Taking on a unique format to reflect the times
  • A unique First Night commission by Iain Farrington for a BBC Grand Virtual Orchestra to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth
  • Live performances later in the season, culminating in the Last Night of the Proms to bring the nation together
  • The 2020 season will open on Friday 17 July on BBC Radio 3 and Sunday 19 July on BBC Four
  • There will be eight weeks of broadcasts on television, radio and online

The organisers have stated that they will be working strictly within the government advice at the time with the hope of presenting live performance to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and iPlayer. The range of work will vary from solo performances to ensemble work and feature some of the greatest musicians of our time alongside emerging talent.

Read more about the planned format for the 2020 Proms on BBC 3’s website.

Imagining a return to work for musicians

Interesting in learning more about what work for musicians might look like during the Government’s Covid-19 recovery phases?

Read our blog from MU Deputy General Secretary Naomi Pohl for a “broad-brush idea of what might be possible as we emerge from this crisis.”

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