It’s that time again: today all the details of this year’s Proms season have been revealed. From a contemporary music perspective, there are 15 world premières – from Tom Coult, Roderick Williams, Laurent Durupt, Julian Anderson, Brian Elias, Judith Weir, Philip Glass/Ravi Shankar (i know, just don’t), Michael Gordon, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Jonathan Dove, Daniel Saleeb, Gerald Barry, Hannah Kendall, Catherine Lamb and Lotta Wennäkoski – and eight European/UK premières – from Harrison Birtwistle, Pascal Dusapin, Anders Hillborg, James MacMillan, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Thomas Larcher, Andrea Tarrodi and Missy Mazzoli. Lots of men in those lists: women composers account for a quarter of the premières, which is an improvement on last year but otherwise not in any way an admirable statistic.
Aside from these, John Adams‘ 70th birthday year is being marked with five performances throughout the season (none of them premières, which is surprising, but in its own way a relief), there’s an event both titled and celebrating “The ‘Godlike Genius’ of Scott Walker” (a title that i fully endorse), the London Contemporary Orchestra will be teaming up with Actress for an evening of improvised who-knows-what alongside Exaudi, and there’s a sprinkling of recent works from, among others, Mark Simpson (a chance for London finally to hear The Immortal), David Sawer, Francisco Coll, Thomas Adès, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Louis Andriessen, Kate Whitley, Wolfgang Rihm and Rebecca Saunders. Another list with a lot of men.
The full run-down of contemporary music featured in this year’s Proms season is shown below (**=world première, *=European/UK première); the number of the concert – or the venue, when outside the Royal Albert Hall; PCM = Proms Chamber Music – is shown in square brackets, and clicking on the date will take you to the relevant page on the BBC website. i leave it up to you to decide whether the title of this blog post is accurate. Read more