This year's Proms have revisited outstanding concerts from previous seasons, but from Friday 28 August until Saturday 12 September there will be a full programme of live music-making, with top soloists, orchestras and conductors.
Leading this big step forward to normal concert life is the Proms' home team, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo, performing Beethoven's mighty Symphony No 3, the Eroica, with works by Aaron Copland, Eric Whitacre and Hannah Kendall, whose opening piece is inspired by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Fri 28 Aug).
Proms founder Sir Henry Wood presides over the festival, which will have a different form this year.
Other nightly concerts to listen out for, on BBC 4, BBC Radio 3 and online include:
Sun 30 Aug: Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, playing Vaughan Williams, Adès, Elgar, Gabrieli and Kurtag.
Thurs 3 Sept: Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova playing the Bach Double Violin Concerto with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Sat 5 Sept: Stephen Hough is soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 2, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard.
Sun 6 Sept: Laura Marling and 12 Ensemble perform music from the singer songwriter's Mercury Prize-nominated album Song for Our Daughter.
Wed 9 Sept: Benjamin Grosvenor is soloist in Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No 1 in an attractive programme from the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen that also includes Mozart's stirring Jupiter Symphony No 41.
Thurs 10 Sept: Aurora Orchestra pulls off another of its musical feats, playing from memory Beethoven's turbulent Symphony No 7.
Fri 11 Sept: Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and cellist brother Sheku Kanneh-Mason give a recital of music by Beethoven, Barber, Bridge and Rachmaninov.
Sat 12 Sept: The Last Night of the Proms! Full details to be announced, but there are sure to be traditional elements, audience or no audience. South African soprano Golda Schultz joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra under its principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska.
Isata Kanneh-Mason plays at the BBC Proms on 10 Sept. Photo: Robin Clewley
The remarkable summer of music that is the Proms was created 125 years by Sir Henry Wood – ‘to bring the greatest classical music to the widest possible audience’. Even with fewer live concerts, that vision has continued, thanks to modern media. The Proms are available on several platforms, and BBC Four broadcasts stand-out Proms every Sunday throughout the festival.
In a First Night venture, 350 musicians made up the Grand Virtual Orchestra, bringing together players from the BBC orchestras and the BBC Singers. In this big Beethoven year, marking 250 years since the composer's birth, a new mash-up of all nine symphonies, entitled Beethoveniana was created by Iain Farrington. Listen again on BBC Radio 3 (Fri 17 July, 7PM) or view on iPlayers (Sun 19 July BBC 4), with other previous Proms highlights.
Mirga Gražinytè-Tyla conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's Fifth, shown on BBC4 on Sunday 19 July. Photo: Benjamin Ealovega.
Three cheers, then, for the live last fortnight, and, with luck, the traditional laurel wreath will be gratefully placed on the bust of Sir Henry Wood on the Last Night.
But in the meantime, do not miss the chance to see again the dynamic and life-changing Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela under Gustavo Dudamel, whose breath-taking Proms debut in 2007 turned concert to carnival. After Shostakovich's Symphony No 10, the young South American musicians let their hair down, and had the Prommers dancing in the aisles. (Sun 23 Aug, BBC4).
Full details of all Proms on BBC Radio 3, BBC 4 and online are here.
|What||BBC Proms 2020: new live dates|
|Where||BBC Four | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
17 Jul 20 – 12 Sep 20, Eight weeks of concerts, from the archive and live
|Website||Click here for more information|