A grand virtual orchestra, a digital proms and plans for special live performances later in the season culminating in the Last Night of the Proms on September 12 have been revealed by the organiser of the Proms.

The 2020 season will open on July 17 and end on September 12. But the current situation with COVID-19 means that the season that was originally planned is sadly no longer possible. Instead the Proms have been reconceived in a different format.

It is the ambition of the organising team to have musicians performing live at the Royal Albert Hall across the final two weeks of the season, culminating in a poignant Last Night of the Proms celebration to bring the nation together.

A digital offer will begin right at the start of the festival with an opening weekend commission performed by all the BBC Orchestras and BBC Singers. Featuring more than 350 musicians, a Grand Virtual Orchestra will see all the groups performing together. To mark the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth, a new mash-up of Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies has been specially created by Iain Farrington.

David Pickard, director of event season, said: “These are extraordinary times for our nation and the rest of the world, but they show that we need music and the creative industries more than ever. This year it is not going to be the Proms as we know them, but the Proms as we need them. We will provide a stimulating and enriching musical summer for both loyal audiences and people discovering the riches we have to offer for the first time.”

Image: Chris Christodoulou