BBC Proms 2015: Recommended concerts

I adore the BBC Proms.

I first watched the last night as a kid over thirty years ago, attended it for the first time 21 years ago, and started following it obsessively ten years ago. Now it represents the perfect musical soundtrack to my summer. It’s always varied, always exposes me to things I wouldn’t otherwise consider listening to and, as each year passes, resolutely embeds itself deeper into my consciousness.

The ‘World’s Greatest Classical Music Festival’ isn’t the pinnacle in my world – that spot is taken up by the Aldeburgh Festival. But it is the event which established classical music as a lifelong friend. I couldn’t do without it. Nobody had dare tinker with it.

This performance (above) of Strauss’s rousing, defiant and joyous Festliches Praeludium is one of many performances from last year which has over the past few days returned to my playlist. The music perfectly sums up my feelings about the Proms, how important it is to me and how – bizarrely – proud it makes me feel whenever I step foot into the Royal Albert Hall.

This coming together of the world’s performers, orchestras and conductors under one-roof in West London for a summer of live broadcasts is something none of us should take for granted. They are curated by people who know their stuff, marketed by people who love what they sell and put on by people who get as excited about the season as I do. This little thing from a years ago is still relevant in illustrating that point.

If you’ve never been – and I know of a lot of people who haven’t – I’ve put together a selection of recommendations (based largely on what I want to see over the summer). If you go (or if you end up watching on TV or listening on the radio) it would be great to hear what you thought. If you attend, be sure to take a read of my list of dos and don’ts for Promming.

If, like me, you need to have a seat in the auditorium, then be sure to get a seat in the Choir (they’re not always available – be sure to ring to check last minute availability).

Recommendations for the BBC Proms 2015

Sunday 19 July

Prom 3 – Ten Pieces Prom
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday 21 July
Prom 6 – Poulenc Organ Concerto & Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms
BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Wednesday 22 July
Prom 7 – Delius’ In The Summer Garden & Nielsen Clarinet Concerto
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Monday 27 July
PCM 2 – Nielsen Wind Quintet
Royal Northern Sinfonia Winds

Tuesday 28 July
Prom 14 – Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos
London Symphony Orchestra

Thursday 30 July
Prom 17 – Elgar’s Symphony No.2
Halle

Friday 31 July
Prom 19 – Bach Partitas and Sonatas
Alina Ibragimova

Sunday 2 August
Prom 22 – Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony
Aurora Orchestra

Monday 3 August
Prom 24 – James MacMillan Symphony No.4
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday 5 August
Prom 26 – Walton’s Symphony No.2
BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Thursday 6 August
Prom 28 – Mark-Anthony Turnage’s On Opened Ground
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Friday 7 August
Prom 29
BBC Philharmonic conducted by Nicholas Collon

Saturday 8 August
Prom 31
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

Sunday 9 August
Prom 33 – Beethoven 5 and Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique
Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique

Monday 10 August
Prom 34 – Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Thursday 13 August
Prom 38 – Messian’s Turangalila Symphony
London Symphony Orchestra

Monday 17 August
PCM 5
Sondheim Cabaret

Tuesday 18 August
Prom 44 – Schoenberg Chamber Symphony
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Thursday 20 August
Prom 46 – Brahms Violin Concerto
Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Saturday 22 August
Prom 49 – Brett Dean’s Dramatis personae
Boston Symphony Orchestra

Monday 24 August
Prom 53 – Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor  
Philharmonia Orchestra

Sunday 30 August
Prom 60 – San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Monday 31 August
Prom 61 – San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday 1 September
Prom 62 – Brahms Symphony No. 1  
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Thursday 3 September
Prom 64 – B Tommy Andersson’s Pan (BBC commission – world premiere)

Saturday 5 September
Prom 68 – Yo-Ya Ma

Monday 7 September
Prom 70 – Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 
St Petersburg Philharmonic

Thursday 10 September
Prom 73 – Brahms Symphony No. 3
Vienna Philharmonic

Friday 11 September
Prom 75 – Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius
Vienna Philharmonic

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