More musical fireworks at this year’s BBC Proms

Friday: BBC Proms 2022 - (BBC Two, 7.15pm)

“With the whole-hearted support of the wonderful medium of broadcasting, I feel that I am at last on the threshold of realising my lifelong ambition of truly democratising the message of music, and making its beneficent effect universal.”

So said Henry Wood, the founder-conductor of the Proms, way back in 1927.

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The BBC was just five years old then, while Wood’s creation was enjoying its 42nd anniversary. The event was already a huge success, but he couldn’t have imagined that, 95 years later, both would still be going strong, although they have changed a little in the ensuing decades.

Georgia Mann, Katie Derham and Clive Myrie

But what does remain the same is the BBC’s dedication to bringing those who cannot attend in person the best possible coverage, while the Proms continue to feature amazing performances.

In recent years, thanks to the pandemic, the celebration of music hasn’t been quite as spectacular or international as we’ve come to expect, but in 2022, orchestras from around the world – including Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra and, most notably, the newly formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra – are returning to its stages for eight weeks of incredible music.

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Seventy-three of the 84 concerts will take place at the Royal Albert Hall, including the First Night, which features Verdi’s mighty Requiem. It will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus and Crouch End Festival Chorus, who will be joined on stage by award-winning soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha and tenor Freddie De Tomasso, a rising star in the music world.

Other highlights to look out for later in the schedule include Emmy-winning star Cynthia Erivo, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and performances from across the UK, which are designed to reach as wide an audience as possible.

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“It is a momentous year for the world’s largest classical music festival,” remarks David Packard, Director, BBC Proms. “I’m delighted that large-scale orchestral and choral repertoire will once again be heard in the Royal Albert Hall, and that we can celebrate the return of international orchestras.

“In the BBC’s centenary year, we can be proud that the Proms has been a part of the organisation for 95 of those 100 years, playing a key role in the Corporation’s mission to inform, educate and entertain. After two adapted seasons, we look forward to welcoming audiences back this summer for eight glorious weeks of music making.”

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“Last year marked an early and significant coming-together for audiences and artists alike, despite uncertainty as to the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” adds Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms, BBC Orchestras and Choirs. “This year we want audiences everywhere to know that the joy and communion of live music-making is back.

“With more ways than ever for people to enjoy the events in person, on radio, television and online, the BBC’s on-going commitment to running the biggest classical music festival in the world allows the Proms to be one of the most inclusive musical experiences anywhere. Every concert can be heard on Radio 3 and BBC Sounds, and 22 can be seen on TV and BBC iPlayer too.”

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We’re sure Henry Wood would be very proud to hear it.