Monday, 7 September 2020

American Dreams: Ryan Bancroft conducts the BBC NOW in a Prom full of firsts

Ryan Bancroft
Ryan Bancroft
Tomorrow night's BBC Prom (8 September 2020), American Dreams, features American conductor Ryan Bancroft conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) in music by Martinů, Adams, Barber, Copland and Gavin Higgins. But it is also an evening of firsts. The prom is coming from the BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, making it the first prom to be performed in Cardiff. The concert also represents Bancroft's BBC Proms debut and his first engagement as the new principal conductor of BBC NOW. 

All the works in the programme are first performances at the proms, Martinů's Jazz Suite for small orchestra, John Adams' Chamber Symphony, Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 which will be sung by Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw, and Copland's Appalachian Spring, suite for 13 Instruments. The concert also includes the world premiere of Rough Voices by the British composer Gavin Higgins [see my interview with Gavin], whose opera The Monstrous Child premiered at the Royal Opera House in 2019 [see my review].

During the concert, Gavin Higgins will be announced at the orchestra's new Composer in Association for BBC NOW; a three-year tenure which will see him work closely with the orchestra, its audiences, and different communities across Wales. Gavin commented, "The opportunity to work with an orchestra is always exciting, but so often your time with them is limited - an hour’s rehearsal then a concert. The chance to really get to know BBC NOW over the coming years, working closely with the players and Ryan Bancroft is a special privilege. I have a number of works buzzing away in the back of my mind, including a large-scale piece that would engage with the local brass band community in Wales with whom I already have a rich and fulfilling relationship."

Also to be announced, Sarah Lianne Lewis is to become BBC NOW's composer affiliate. As a composer and singer, Lewis runs educational workshops for schools and she will work with BBC NOW to inspire and encourage the next generation of performers, composers, and arts leaders

Full details from the BBC Proms website.

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