2012 is a big year for London. This week might be the most anticipated of the year so far, with the Olympic Games kicking off on Friday. Adding to the excitement is packed week of concerts at the BBC Proms.
Founded in 1895, and billed as world’s biggest music festival, the Proms runs through Sept. 8 at the Royal Albert Hall and other nearby London venues. It includes over 70 concerts, encompassing a wide range of symphonic and operatic music. The festival features performers from all over the globe, focusing especially on British musicians.
WQXR.org is your passport to London, with an audio stream of the daily Proms concerts.
Monday, July 23
The vocal ensemble Tenebrae makes its Proms debut in a program showcasing 17th-century London. Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra continue the Beethoven Cycle with Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6, as well as music by Pierre Boulez.
Tuesday, July 24
Beethoven is again paired with Boulez as Barenboim conducts Symphonies 7 & 8 and Boulez's Anthèmes 2. The Kronos Quartet presents a program as diverse as the Olympic Village, including Syrian folk-pop, a Kronos commission blending classical strings with ethnic Balkan instruments and an arrangement of a Scandinavian folk lament.
Wednesday, July 25
2:30 pm EDT Smetana, Prokofiev, and Dvorak
Vadim Gluzman performs Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major with the BBC Orchestra under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek. The orchestra will also play an orchestrated version of Smetana's String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" and Dvorak's Seventh Symphony.
Thursday, July 26
Pianist Joanna MacGregor joins conductor Thierry Fischer and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for a water-inspired program of music by Edward Elgar, Hugh Wood, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. Members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra perform Beethoven's Piano Quintet in E flat major and Pierre Boulez's Le marteau sans maître with mezzo-soprano Hilary Summers.
Friday, July 27
1:30 pm EDT Beethoven Cycle: Symphony No. 9
Beethoven's hymn to universal brotherhood is well-suited to the start of the Olympic opening ceremonies. This performance features the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim. Celebrate the start of the games with the end of the Proms's Beethoven Cycle.
Saturday, July 28
10:00 am EDT Les 24 Violons du Roy
2:30 pm EDT Gudmunsen-Holmgreen, Shostakovich, Langgaard & Tchaikovsky
This team of musicians from the Royal College of Music and the Paris and Orsay conservatoires, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, presents a program meant to recreate the sound of the world’s first professional orchestra, which was founded by France's Louis XIII in 1626. The BBC Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard performs a bold program including Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, played by Daniel Müller-Schott, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 and the UK premieres of Langgard's Symphony No. 11 and Gudmensen-Holmgreen's Incontri.
Sunday, July 29
The Aurora Orchestra and violinist Tasmin Little perform classical music for the whole family, which will be presented along with specially filmed new Wallace & Gromit animations and the first-ever screening of A Matter of Loaf and Death with live orchestral soundtrack. The Aldeburgh World Orchestra, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, presents Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, Mahler's Symphony No. 10, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and the world premiere of Charlotte Bray's At the Speed of Stillness.