Beethoven 7 at the BBC Proms

6 August 2020

Today, the BBC Proms announce full programme details for their special series of live concerts later this summer. We’re delighted to be returning to the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 10 September. For the seventh year in a row, we perform a complete symphony from memory – this time Beethoven’s joyful, brilliant Symphony No. 7 – alongside a new commission by leading British composer Richard Ayres, which explores the composer’s relationship with Beethoven and hearing loss.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 has a special place in Proms history: it was the last piece Proms founder-conductor Henry Wood directed before his death in 1944. Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Players will be joined by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service for a musically-illustrated introduction to Beethoven’s exhilarating and intensely rhythmic work, exploring the Symphony with live musical excerpts. We then perform Symphony No. 7 entirely from memory – without chairs, sheet music or music stands.

Richard Ayres’s deeply personal new commission, No. 52 (Three pieces about Ludwig van Beethoven), is inspired by Beethoven’s journey into deafness as well as Ayres’ own personal experience of hearing loss.

In case you missed it, Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon spoke to The Guardian recently about Aurora’s return to the Proms:

Every orchestra I conduct across the world talks about the Proms in reverential tones: the audience of thousands splayed across the vast Royal Albert Hall, all engaging in the communal act of listening; the pin-drop silences; the extraordinary breadth of repertoire; and the unrivalled wealth of performing ensembles and soloists from across the globe. It’s a great honour to have been invited to be part of this year’s live season – I have performed there every year with Aurora since 2010, but had imagined that being there this year would be impossible. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show that live music-making can continue amid the uncertainty, even with the various constraints put upon us.

You can read the full article here.

How to watch & listen

Although there will be no audience in the Royal Albert Hall itself, there will be several ways to watch and listen to the live Prom at home. The concert will be broadcast live at 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3, and televised at 8.00pm on BBC Four. You’ll also be able to catch up afterwards on BBC Sounds and iPlayer. Find out more here.