Hyde Park plays host to all sorts of summertime events. From art exhibit openings to pop music festivals, Hyde Park is the home to all things culture in London. The crown jewel of the Royal Parks of London and a stone’s throw from the Devonshire London Paddington, Hyde Park is a must visit for any first timer in the city.
One of the best events Hyde Park stages over the summer months is the unmissable Proms in the Park. With a longstanding history and a meticulously cultivated showcase of classical music’s best international talents, Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, and by extension Proms in the Park is a music lovers dream. Set over the later months of the summer through late July, all of August and the first half of September, the festival is broadcast worldwide and is accessible to all ages, regardless of their music maturity.
What are the BBC Proms?
Based predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall, the BBC Proms is an 8-week showcase of some of the best contemporary musicians in the world. Organised and broadcast by the BBC and often played on the radio and television, the BBC Proms also showcases chamber music at Cadogan Hall based in Chelsea’s Sloane Terrace. Incorporating new arrangements alongside revivals of legendary compositions, the Proms are a true platform for musical genius.
With both Cadogan and the Royal Albert Hall located in West London, visitors to the city looking to attend a concert can take the opportunity to capitalise on the great value Paddington Hotel deals available all through the summer.
History of the Proms
The idea of promenade performances had been popular since the 18th century and had been performed in pleasure gardens for the upper classes for years before indoor performances gained precedence in the 19th century. It was only when Robert Newman, an impresario who had performed many prom performances in his time, decided to begin opening up the classical music performance sphere to a wider audience. In doing this, he began to lower ticket prices and allow eating and smoking in concert halls, thus making it more accessible to the general public untrained in the formalities of the old guard. After gaining financial backing he began to organise what came to be known as the Queens Hall Orchestra, playing shows at the Royal Albert Hall run by conductor Henry Wood. After Newman’s death in 1927, the proms were passed over to the BBC, who took the reins of the proms with their own orchestra.
What is Proms in the Park?
Proms in the Park is held on the last day of the BBC Proms and is held in Hyde Park. Broadcast live on television, the Proms in the Park offers a great range of well-known performers, whose musical talents are backed up by the BBC Concert Orchestra. With picnics, drink and food stalls throughout the grounds, the Proms in the Park is an idyllic way to spend the last of the summer sunshine.
History of Proms in the Park
Proms in the park was developed in 1996 to bring in more audience members. With the Royal Albert Hall only being able to hold so many attendees, Hyde Park was opened as a venue on the last day of the Proms, providing the perfect book end to the season. In the noughties, other parks across the country were opened to their very own Proms in the Park.
First Night of the Proms
With hundreds of musicians playing throughout the 8-week festival, we thought we’d give you a low down of both the first and last night of the Proms, providing a taste of the kind of acts you can expect during the performances.
Zosha Di Castri
Zosha Di Castri is a New York based composer and pianist with work which has been performed across the world. Her collaborations have seen the likes of soprano and orchestra renditions inspired by short stories, whilst her Phonobellow project includes a sound sculpture, five musicians and a range of videos reflecting her influences from photography and phonography. Zosha will be opening the proms with a piece called Long is the Journey, Short is the Memory.
A rendition of late 19th century Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s The Spinning Wheel will be performed as the second piece of music of the Proms first night. Antonin Dvorak was a well-known Czech composer who was inspired by his native Moravia’s folk music scene.
Keeping up the Moravian tradition, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass will end the first night of the proms. Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the performance of this early 20th century masterpiece will be one of the most powerful of this year’s proms.
Proms in the Park 2019 line up
BBC Concert Orchestra
Every year, the BBC Concert Orchestra performs a set of some of their most popular songs. From BBC classics to compositions of their own, the orchestra is known for its renditions of light classical, jazz and pop songs.
With his 50-year career, Barry Manilow will be performing at this year’s proms, performing his most popular hits from his decades of music.
As the singer of punk rock outfit The Pretenders, Chrissie has inspired musicians the world over. This year at Proms in the Park, she’ll be performing her solo material, all from her soon to be released album Valve Bone Woe.
This English Italian Pianist and singer-songwriter is one of the most hotly anticipated new acts on the scene. With a range of beautiful albums and having performed all over the world, Jack will be performing his most recent work, inspired by the beauty of Rome, right here in Hyde Park.
The Lighthouse Family rose to fame in the 90s with hit single Lifted and have since played all over the world. Comprised of vocalist Tunde Baiyewu and Paul Tucker on piano, this will be a beautiful and breezy pop throwback, proving that the duo still shines bright in 2019.