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BBC Proms

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Proms in the Park
bbc, proms, hyde park, doctor who

It is hard to imagine a British summer without the Proms; that's probably because it has been running for almost a hundred and twenty years. It all started on the 10th August 1895, and was organised by Robert Newman, whose aim it was to make concerts available to a wider audience. He did this by creating an informal promenade arrangement, which meant ticket prices could be kept low; seats cost between one shilling and one guinea. Today, those same ethics are still in place, with tickets starting at just 7.50 for adults and 6 for children.

Newman wanted to introduce people to a wide range of music, with each night dedicated to a specific composer, such as Wagner or Beethoven. Even when World War One started, he insisted on continuing to play music by German composers, believing that 'the greatest examples of music and art are world possessions and unassailable even by the prejudices of the hour'.

By 1927, however, Newman lost his financial support, and the Proms was taken over by the BBC. The BBC made the concerts even more widely available by broadcasting them on live radio, and today we can watch the performances on screen. Nothing quite beats seeing it up close though, and if you want to go to the BBC Proms, concerts will be held in Hyde Park and at The Royal Albert Hall between 12th July - 7th September.

The First Night of the Proms will open at 7.30pm with a colossal four-hundred-and-fifty member choir. Experience sea-inspired works by Britten and Vaughan Williams, as well as Paganini recitals, and a world premier appearance by Julian Andrews.

From the 13th July onwards, you can see for yourself how the Proms is keeping up with modern times. Last year we saw the dynamic inventing duo, Wallace & Gromit, and this year, you'll be travelling through space and time with various Doctor Who performances. The concerts will include Habanera from Bizet's Carmen Suite No. 2, Debussy's La fille aux cheveux de lin, and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Other concerts to look forward to include The Rights of Spring, Handel in Rome, Viva Verdi, symphonies by Mozart, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Strauss, and many more.

Throughout the season, families can take part in free Proms Plus events. For example, Storytime is a new event aimed at children 3-7. Classical music will be used to bring stories to life, including the picture book by Jon Klassen, I Want My Hat Back. Sing invites you to join a choral performance, Literary discusses how the Romantic movement linked Beethoven's music with poetry by writers such as Burns, James Macpherson, and Walter Scott, and Inspire is a performance of winning entries from the Young Composers' Competition.

The Last Night of the Proms will close with new work by Anna Clyne and a rare perofmance of Briteen's 1967 The Building of the House.
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Why? Fun for music lovers
When: 12th July - 7th Sept
Phone: 0845 401 5040
Where: Royal Albert Hall
Cost: 6-95 adult
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