The BBC “Proms,” the well-beloved and preeminent British summer musical festival, started the 2011 season on 15 July and will run through 10 September. This season features 85 concerts, covering a wide variety of works, from the longest symphony ever written (Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony) to masterpieces of Renaissance composer Tomas Luis de Victoria.
The Proms, more formally known as the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, began in 1895 and were initially held in the Queen’s Hall in London. The festival quickly became a venerated British institution. Henry Wood (knighted in 1911) conducted the concerts from the inception of the festival in 1895 until his death in 1944 (only three weeks earlier he had conducted Beethoven's Seventh Symphony at the Proms). After the Queen’s Hall was destroyed in 1941, the Proms were moved to its present location at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Throughout the festival, I will be featuring selected works performed at the 2011 Proms during my regular show on WTJU, Classical Sunrise. So tune in Sunday mornings, from 6 am to 9 am, to WTJU 91.1 FM, or on the web at wtju.net.