Although the coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of many major public events, including music festivals like Reading and Glastonbury, fans will be pleased to hear that BBC Proms is going ahead – albeit, very differently to usual.
In a similar vein to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, this year’s BBC Proms will be a multi-platform virtual event, celebrating 125 years since the first season.
Expect to see enchanting live performances broadcast across two months on the BBC, including a special Last Night of the Proms that is hoped to bring the nation together.
Here’s everything you need to know about BBC Proms 2020.
Is BBC Proms 2020 cancelled?
Fortunately not. But it will be a very different event to past years, as the BBC’s tagline poignantly describes: “Not the Proms as we know them, the Proms as we need them.”
The original plans that the organisers had laid out for this year’s music celebration had to be thrown out or adapted in order to meet our unprecedented current situation, reducing social contact to meet with government guidelines.
However, you can rest assured that they are still intent on showcasing “leading artists around the globe, highlighting emerging talent, and featuring work by some of today’s most exciting and innovative composers”.
In the interest of safety, we will be enjoying the Proms from home this year, as it is broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.
When is BBC Proms 2020 on TV?
The 2020 season will open on Friday 17th July on BBC Radio 3 and Sunday 19th July on BBC Four.
Performances from the 2020 Proms will also be available to catch up on using BBC iPlayer.
The season will finish on Saturday 12th September.
BBC Proms 2020 programme
Starting from Friday 17th July, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast past Proms concerts every evening, as well as a weekly Late Night Prom, and a Monday lunchtime offering.
The festival will kick off with a unique First Night commission, performed by a Grand Virtual Orchestra comprised of all the BBC Singers and BBC Orchestras.
Starting from Sunday 19th July, BBC Four will broadcast standout Proms every Sunday until the festival ends on Saturday 12th September. Additional highlights will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Friday 28th August will see the focus shift from revisiting past performances to exciting new ones, as organisers plan to have musicians playing live at the Royal Albert Hall for the final two weeks, culminating in an emotional Last Night of the Proms.
The range is said to feature solo performances as well as ensemble work, from both established musicians and emerging new talent, all of which will be broadcast across BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.
There is no exact schedule for these new live shows just yet, as it will depend largely on government advice nearer the time, but we’ll update this page with more information as it comes in.
BBC Radio 3 is encouraging listeners to send in their favourite Proms moments as these will be used to shape the content of this year’s digital event.
Full BBC Proms 2020 schedule
Friday 17 July
7pm – Petroc Trelawny and Georgia Mann introduce the First Night of the 2020 BBC Proms season.
Saturday 18 July
Beethoven: Overture ‘Leonore’ No. 3
7pm – (concerts from 2017, 1995 and 2007)
Iain Farrington: Beethoveniana (BBC commission, world premiere) – BBC Grand Virtual Orchestra
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 – Igor Levit (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner (First Night of the Proms 2017)
Harrison Birtwistle: Panic – BBC Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis (Last Night of the Proms 1995)
Mahler: Symphony No. 3 – Anna Larsson (mezzo-soprano), Trinity Boys Choir, London Symphony Chorus, Lucerne Festival Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (BBC Proms 2007)
Sunday 19 July
7.05pm – 2017 Prom
Stravinsky: Violin Concerto
Gerald Barry: Canada (BBC commission, world premiere)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
Leila Josefowicz (violin), Allan Clayton (tenor), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla)
If you’re looking for something to watch, check out our TV Guide.