Following the success of the inaugural BBC Proms Dubai in 2017, the BBC Proms, the world’s largest classical music festival, has announced it will return to Dubai for a second four-day festival in March 2019.

Taking place from 19 to 22 March at Dubai Opera, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers will once again give audiences the opportunity to experience some of the music, talent and tradition the festival offers. BBC Proms Dubai will host a rich programme including core classical repertoire, British music and new music, all accompanied by a full and varied schedule of learning activity in the region.

BBC Proms Dubai 2019 opens with a world premiere by British-Lebanese composer Bushra El-Turk who draws on the sound world of her Lebanese roots in Tmesis, conducted by one of Britain’s most exciting young conducting talents, Ben Gernon. The remainder of the opening night’s programme relishes the lush romanticism of the early twentieth century with Korngold’s Violin Concerto, performed by violinist Karen Gomyo, and extracts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.

Sofi Jeannin, Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers leads the group in a programme of choral music spanning the last 100 years from Gershwin, to Poulenc and Laura Mvula, whilst Richard Farnes conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two further concerts including the traditional and wildly popular Last Night of the Proms. Joined by the BBC Singers and recently formed Dubai Opera Festival Chorus this promises to be a night to remember. BBC Proms favourite and Last Night veteran Roderick Williams joins the finale of the festival which features Last Night favourites such as Thomas Arne’s Rule, Britannia! and Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.

Other artists appearing at the festival include Nicholas Alstaedt in Walton’s Cello Concerto, whilst singers Elizabeth Atherton, Yvonne Howard and Mark le Brocq join Roderick Williams, the BBC Singers and Dubai’s own Opera Festival Chorus for the first professional performance of Beethoven’s iconic Ninth Symphony in Dubai. Complementing the main evening Proms, accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, hosts her own Late Night Prom with a jazz-infused programme.

In the spirit of the founding principle of the Proms – to bring the best of classical music to the widest possible audience – nearly 600 ‘Promming’ (standing) tickets will be made available each day for each concert, priced from just AED 50 (£10).

There will be a comprehensive learning programme, in association with the British Council, across the four-day festival, with workshops for local ensembles, masterclasses, open rehearsals and pre-concert talks providing budding musicians and singers with the opportunity to develop their skills and engage with the performers. This includes the instigation and coaching of the newly formed Dubai Opera Festival Chorus by members of the BBC Singers leading up to the historic first performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Dubai.

The BBC Proms Dubai concerts will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, presented by Petroc Trelawny.

Now in its 123rd year the BBC Proms is the world’s largest classical music festival reaching more than 300,000 people live and many millions more both in the UK and internationally via radio, television and online. The Proms’ founding principle – to bring the best of classical music to the widest possible audience – remains its primary mission today. The festival consists of an eight-week summer season of concerts, talks, workshops and family events, culminating in the world-famous Last Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall and four Proms in the Park events around the UK.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms says: “I am delighted that the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers will be performing at Dubai Opera once again for the second BBC Proms Dubai festival. In 2017, the inaugural BBC Proms Dubai gave audiences in the UAE an opportunity to sample a taste of the BBC Proms experience and we look forward to thrilling audiences again with this wonderful series of concerts and learning events. The Proms is truly about making classical music accessible through quality music-making, outreach work, affordable ticket prices and broadcasts, and BBC Proms Dubai encompasses this.”

Bushra El-Turk, composer says: “Throughout my career I have hoped for my music to be a meeting point between cultures and I feel honoured, as a composer of British and Middle Eastern heritage, that I have been selected to represent these cultures through my piece Tmesis which opens one of the world’s most prestigious festivals for classical music, the BBC Proms, Dubai.”

Jasper Hope, Dubai Opera Chief Executive says: “After the success of their visit in 2017 I am delighted that the BBC Proms will return to Dubai Opera next March to bring still more of the world’s best classical music festival to the ears of a highly enthusiastic and growing audience here in the UAE - we can’t wait to have them back."

Paul Hughes, Director, BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, says: “BBC Proms Dubai 2017 was an historic event in many ways, and the welcome we received across the course of the four days and six concerts from the wonderful Dubai Opera audience was overwhelming in its warmth and enthusiasm. The broadcasts of the concerts on BBC Radio 3 captured perfectly the atmosphere of the Festival and especially the excitement of the Last Night of the BBC Dubai Proms and I’m excited to build on this foundation and create a new tradition in a young country. BBC Proms Dubai 2019 here we come!”


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