The Proms programme always raises debate. This year the focus has been on the number of female composers represented—whilst there is a better male/female balance, the most substantial commissions have been given to male composers.
Last year saw some efforts towards greater equality, though arguably this felt tokenistic or merely thematic given that the Proms was also marking 100 years of female suffrage. One of 2018’s developments that has been carried over, however, has been the awarding of the prominent first night commission (a tradition that itself waxes and wanes) to a female composer, Zosha Di Castri, whose Long Is the Journey – Short Is the Memory will open this year’s festivities. Other substantial commissions, both male and female include new works by Dobrinka Tabakova, Linda Catlin Smith, Errollyn Wallen, Ryan Wigglesworth, Huw Watkins and Johnny Greenwood.
The Proms website, for reasons I have never understood, doesn’t separate out the premieres, though you can find a complete list of programmed composers. Here then is a complete premieres list, with links to the individual concerts on the Proms website.
19th Zosha Di Castri, Long Is the Journey – Short Is the Memory. BBCSO (WP).
22nd Anna Thorvaldsdottir Metacosmos (UK). Orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music and the Julliard School.
22nd Alexia Sloane. Earthward (WP). VOCES8.
22nd Hans Zimmer, Earth (WP). BBC Singers, CBeebies Prom Children’s Choir, Chineke! Orchestra.
24th Péter Eötvös Alhambra (violin concerto) (UK). BBCSO.
25th Tobias Broström Nigredo: Dark Night of the Soul (concerto for two trumpets and orchestra) (UK). BBCNOW.
4th Outi Tarkiainen, Midnight Sun Variations (WP). BBC Philharmonic.
8th Huw Watkins, The Moon (WP). BBCNOW.
11th Benjamin Beckman, New Work (UK). The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.
11th Detlev Glanert, Weites Land (‘Musik mit Brahms’ for orchestra) (UK). BBCSO.
13th Multiple composers, Birthday Variations for M. C. B. (WP). BBCSO.
15th Errollyn Wallen, This Frame Is Part of the Painting (WP). BBCNOW.
17th Joanna Lee, At this man’s hand (WP). BBC Singers.
19th Jonathan Dove, We Are One Fire (WP); Dieter Ammann, Piano Concerto (WP). BBCSO.
26th Jörg Widmann, Babylon Suite (London). Orchestre de Paris.
28th Ryan Wigglesworth, Piano Concerto (WP). Britten Sinfonia.
31st Dobrinka Tabakova, New Work (WP). BBC Concert Orchestra.
1st Linda Catlin Smith, New Work (WP). BBCSSO
8th Louis Andriessen, The Only One (UK). BBCSO.
9th Freya Waley-Cohen, New Work (WP). Knussen Chamber Orchestra.
10th Jonny Greenwood, Horror vacui – for solo violin and 68 strings (WP). BBCNOW.