BBC sells Proms to the Gulf

BBC sells Proms to the Gulf


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2016

In a brazen dilution of a cherished brand, the BBC has licensed BBC Proms Dubai, a mini-festival.

‘The BBC Proms will travel to the Gulf state for four performances next March,’ it has been locally announced.

The music will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, the musicians’ first visit to the UAE …

The six concerts over four days include classical repertoire, British music and new music — including works by Dubai-based composers Joanna Marsh and Mohammad Fairouz, and Australian-Egyptian composer Joseph Tawadros’ Quartet. The BBC Proms Dubai concerts will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

It wouldn’t be the BBC Proms without the Last Night Of The Proms, the traditional end to the festival that sees flag-waving music fans sing along to Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea-Songs, Thomas Arne’s Rule, Britannia! and Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (aka Land of Hope and Glory).

The festival is all part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Cultural Collaboration led by the British Council, meaning there will also be workshops, masterclasses and open rehearsals.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms says: “I am delighted that the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers will be performing at Dubai Opera for the inaugural BBC Proms Dubai, giving audiences in the UAE an opportunity to sample a taste of the BBC Proms experience. Through this series of concerts and learning events we hope to give the audience an idea of what the Proms are all about, making classical music accessible through quality music-making, outreach work, affordable ticket prices and broadcasts.”

andrew davis proms2

Jasper Hope, Dubai Opera Chief Executive says: “The BBC Proms is a magical festival which I know extremely well from my time at the Royal Albert Hall and I’m thrilled that for the first time ever, residents of and visitors to Dubai will be able to enjoy a taste of the world’s greatest classical music festival right here at Dubai Opera. This is yet more evidence that Dubai Opera is becoming the definitive destination in the GCC for the very best music and entertainment from the whole world, as well as being a stage on which we can celebrate the best in local and regional talent to the broadest possible audience.”



  • Eric says:

    Mohammed Fairouz is not based in Dubai. He is an American composer, born, raised and still living in New York City.

  • V.Lind says:

    How does four performances become six concerts?

    • V.Lind says:

      Thank you, Eric. Aside from clearing up that careless bit of writing, it made clear that, rather than “brazen dilution of a cherished brand” (haven’t seen much Proms-cherishing on this blog in recent seasons — every year there seem to be new nits picked) BBC Proms is participating in the ” UK/UAE 2017 Year of Cultural Collaboration, led by the British Council.”

      Further, “in the spirit of cooperation a learning programme of workshops, masterclasses and open rehearsals will also take place during the four days. This includes a workshop for the Arabian Youth Orchestra with players from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, workshops for local adult and children’s choirs with the BBC Singers and a masterclass for chamber musicians at the Centre for Musical Arts in Dubai.”

      Aside from the fact that the programmes are being recorded — no doubt some of several things that will appear on 3 on this theme over the year of cultural cooperation, the involved groups will probably come home with handsome fees after being hospitably received in a warm place and probably warmly received by an audience that doesn’t get much of this sort of thing.And will have done some good in spreading the gospel of good music through outreach.

      Hard to see dilution; much as I dislike the term, it seems to be spreading the “brand.” Hard, also, to find anything negative in these ventures by the Council and the Proms. A very dyspeptic view.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    And yes, notify me of followup comments via e-mail