The BBC is presenting a record 90 performances in the 2006 Promenade Concerts, beginning with the opening program tonight at London's Royal Albert Hall.
This evening's program features the BBC Symphony Orchestra's new chief conductor, Jirí Belohlávek, leading works by Mozart, Shostakovich, Smetana and Dvorák with soloists Barbara Frittoli and John Tomlinson.
Broadcast live on BBC Two television and BBC Radio 3, the first night of the Proms is celebrated with a day of live music in Trafalgar Square, culminating in a big screen showing of the Royal Albert Hall concert, which will be available for up to seven days via BBC Two's new broadband site at www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo.
This year's Proms, the tenth in director Nicholas Kenyon's tenure, run until September 9. The lineup includes anniversary celebrations for Mozart and Shostakovich. Queen Elizabeth will attend her 80th-birthday concert, featuring 250 children singing a special commission by Peter Maxwell Davies and U.K. poet laureate Andrew Motion.
Other anniversaries to be celebrated include Colin Matthews's 60th birthday, Steve Reich's 70th, and the 80th birthdays of Hans Werner Henze and György Kurtág. The 200th anniversary of Haydn's death and the 150th anniversary of Schumann's death will also be honored.
The 2006 Proms will also see the U.K. premieres of works by Osvaldo Golijov, H. K. Gruber, Magnus Lindberg, Dai Fujikura and Benjamin Wallfisch. BBC commissions include works from British composers Julian Anderson, George Benjamin, James Dillon, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Ian Wilson.