BBC Proms 2017

17th August 2017

Photo credit: BBC/Sarah Jeynes

A sold-out Royal Albert Hall, a unique presentation with Radio 3’s Tom Service, and a memorised performance of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ – our eighth consecutive performance at the BBC Proms was truly electrifying. For us, it was incredible to explore the devastating beauty of Strauss’ Metamorphosen and the revolutionary spirit of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ with such an enthusiastic audience of over 6,000. Ahead of our TV broadcast, we’d like to relive the special moments of the night and recount what the critics thought. You can catch our ‘Eroica’ performance on BBC Four on Friday 18 August at 7.30pm, or watch on iPlayer for the next month.


Aurora strings in serious rehearsal mode for Strauss’ ‘Metamorphosen’ under Sir Henry Wood’s gaze.

‘…the strings delivered an impassioned account of Strauss’s desolate but gorgeous Metamorphosen.’ ★★★★ The Sunday Times

Torun, co-principal cellist, going through some final bits before the end of the rehearsal.

Bassoonists Amy and Dom give us some extra pizzazz backstage.


Tuning up for the final time.

Strings all lined up and ready to take the stage.

Of course, an Aurora Prom is always a bit different. We opened the night with a unique presentation led by Radio 3’s Tom Service and Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon. Using the full potential of memorised performance, we revealed the musical ideas and intricacies of Beethoven’s groundbreaking ‘Eroica’ symphony through choreographed movement, excerpts, and audience participation. Getting 6,000 people to clap and sing along with us was definitely a highlight.

‘…The movement and the playing were slickly done – as they filed up and across and down the steps on stage into their next formation, it looked like a giant human game of Snake.’ ★★★★ The Guardian

‘engaging and entertaining as it was interesting; and if I didn’t find out anything particularly new about the ‘Eroica’, it was thrilling to see 6,000 people becoming actively involved in finding out more.’ Classical Source

Photo credit: BBC/Sarah Jeynes

We then ended with a memorised performance of Beethoven’s mighty ‘Eroica’, filling the Royal Albert Hall with music heroic in scale and expression.

Photo credit: BBC/Sarah Jeynes

And the critics thought…


‘…it was so much more than a memory test for the sake of it – this was truly live in every sense….Their Beethoven was full of fizz, energy and infectious spirit, one of the most vivid live performances of this symphony I have experienced.’ ★★★★ Bachtrack

‘Did the Beethoven sound different for being played from memory? Not very – and yet perhaps the musicians were shaping longer, more complete phrases, because all that mattered was what was in their ears rather than what was on the page.’ ★★★★ The Guardian

‘…Much of Auroras’ brand identity stems from the alert, collaborative to-and-fro required by their playing of much-loved orchestral favourites by heart. Revealing, then, to see them rise to the challenge of a piece that allows each instrument to speak in a lonely, private voice.’ The Arts Desk

‘…there was a palpable sense of energised concentration and, to borrow a bodybuilders’ phrase, dynamic tension.’ ★★★★ Evening Standard

‘This was an ‘Eroica’ like no other which got the enthusiastic Prommers’ reception it deserved.’ Seen & Heard


More memorised performances of Beethoven to come…we perform his ode to nature –  the ‘Pastoral’ Symphony – from memory in Why Birds Sing on 24 September, part of our Orchestral Theatre series at the Southbank Centre. This cross-arts concert on birdsong features pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and mesmerising works by Messiaen and Brett Dean, alongside animation, birdsong recordings, audio storytelling and an installation of 1,000 origami cranes.