Songlines | The 2018 BBC Proms programme launch
19 April 2018

The 2018 BBC Proms programme launch

By Jo Frost

This year’s Proms line-up extends from British folk to tango music via Senegalese mbalax

BBC Proms Launch Photo 1_credit BBC Sanjeet Riat.jpg

© BBC/Sanjeet Riat

The world’s biggest classical music festival, the BBC Proms, announced its 2018 programme today – with more than 90 concerts across eight weeks, kicking off on July 13.

Of particular interest to Songlines readers will be the various Proms that look beyond the Western classical tradition. Highlights include Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour and his band Le Super Etoile de Dakar who will be making their Prom debut with a late-night performance on August 31. On August 3 the folk music of the British Isles will be celebrated in a Prom featuring Julie Fowlis, Sam Lee, Alaw, The Unthanks and others.

Oud player Joseph Tawadros will be performing his London Proms debut with a solo recital – and world premiere – on July 30 at the Cadogan Hall. There will also be Tango Prom featuring the Britten Sinfonia together with Argentinian composer Pablo Ziegler and bandoneón player Héctor del Curto on September 4.

Oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros

This year’s event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage with a marked increase in female artists on the programme – out of 18 new commissions, 11 are by women. Director of the Proms, David Pickard, remarked that this was very much a ‘conscious decision’ given the Proms commitment to the Keychange initiative – to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. There’s clearly still a long way to go, but it’s a step in the right direction. 

General booking opens on May 12, 9am. See bbc.co.uk/proms for more information.

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