BBC Proms

Music to the ears

This historic festival is one of the highlights of the London summer season. Over eight glorious weeks, many of the world’s greatest artists, composers, orchestras and ensembles light up the Royal Albert Hall with music. Founded by Henry Wood over 120 years ago, the Proms have always been about bringing the best classical music to the widest audience. Today, every night promises something new, and the tradition of promenading – standing – continues, lending the Proms its distinctive, informal atmosphere.

I don’t know anywhere else in the world where you have something like this

Nina Stemme, Soprano

A series of centenaries

This year, the Proms marks six different centenaries. The festival opens with a spectacular response to the centenary of the end of the First World War by contemporary composer Anna Meredith. This is one of eight commissions given to women composers to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of women in the UK gaining the right to vote.

The centenary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein will see a series of concerts celebrating his life, including performances of West Side Story and On The Town. Other highlights include the first ever Young Musician Prom where 20 of the alumni from the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year will appear, including Nicola Benedetti, Michael Collins and Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

The Last Night with Sir Andrew Davis

The Last Night of the Proms is an eccentric, exuberant affair, where the usual concert formalities are set aside for what many call the greatest annual party in classical music. This year the evening will be in the capable hands of Last Night veteran Sir Andrew Davis, former Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He will be directing traditional nautical favourites by Henry Wood and Thomas Arne, along with Stanford’s Songs of the Sea, featuring Canadian baritone Gerald Finley. Expect plenty of dressing up, singalongs and cheerful bonhomie.

Overall the festival will feature over 90 concerts including 42 premieres, from lunchtime performances to late-night events. It’s a truly unique event, brimming with opportunities to hear exceptional music from the world’s finest artists.

They said there wasn’t the public for great music 47 years ago. The critics wagged their heads. But Robert Newman said we’d make a public and we did. It was a bold venture in 1895 [but] it worked.

Sir Henry Wood

Find out more


13 July - 8 September 2018


Royal Albert Hall 
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AP

Please note a selection of perfomances will take place at other venues across London.