Combining the raucous tradition of the 18th and 19th century Proms held at Bristol Old Vic with the cutting-edge technological innovations being spearheaded in the city, Bristol Proms is a radical reinvention of the classical concert experience, led by Tom Morris, one of Britain’s most celebrated theatre directors. With all promenade Pit tickets costing just £5, this is a Proms for everyone – and a glorious rejection of the notion that classical concerts are elitist.

“Although it’s inspired by the riotous and popular concerts performed here 200 years ago, Bristol Proms is far from an historical exercise. It’s a partnership with Watershed and Universal Music Group at a time when classical music performance is reinventing itself. The programme will involve pioneering experiments in digital film and sound. It will be an exploration into how a concert might become theatrical in new ways in the 21st century.” Tom Morris, Artistic Director, Bristol Old Vic

Embracing the theatricality of live music, and featuring performances in the dark, a digital hack, and house music played on the cello, the Bristol Proms will blast concert going conventions apart, offering a programme that is daring, accessible and interactive.

18-year-old pianist Jan Lisiecki will work with award winning film director John Durrant and BDH to create two distinct performance experiences: one for the audience at Bristol Old Vic, and one for a second audience watching remotely at ‘digital creativity centre’ the Watershed. The historical auditorium of Bristol Old Vic brought to life with laser beams cutting through the air and creating a visual representation of the unique acoustics of the space. Meanwhile, down the road at the Watershed, audiences will be part of a black and white, immersive film, experiencing the intimate details of Lisiecki’s performance close up – from the vibrations on a glass of water to dust falling through cracks beneath the stage.

Audiences for Nicola Benedetti will get closer to the music than ever before as they witness stunning visualisations of the subtle movements and emotional vibrations as she performs. The cutting edge quantum art project, danceroom Spectroscopy, developed by world leading physicists, uses quantum mechanics to chart the intimate shifts in the particles surrounding the performer’s body, creating a colourful, ever evolving map. It has never previously been used in the context of classical music.

Drawing on the latest computer gaming technology, the stage of Bristol Old Vic will be transformed into an extraordinary 3D digital imagining of the world of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, for Daniel Hope’s performance of Max Richter’s recomposition of the classic work, complete with changing weather, plants and animals that respond live to different sections of the orchestra.

Bristol Proms follows the speech by Max Hole, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group International, at the Association of British Orchestras, where he called on classical musicians to ‘ride the wave of change’ in order to keep classical music evolving. With Tom Morris he shares a belief that live classical music must reinvent its relationship with the audience in response to the current climate, and hence a collaboration for the inaugural Bristol Proms was created following this meeting of minds.

“The Bristol Proms will help expand classical music out of its niche, and marking this as a truly pivotal event, is the collaboration between world class musicians and digital innovators. Too often classical music feels elitist and exclusive. Bristol Proms will showcase a wealth of classical music talent, in a fashion that is original and welcoming.” Max Hole, Chairman and CEO of UMG International

“This ground-breaking concert series mixes the world’s greatest classical music with the best of digital thinking. At Classic FM we are committed to bringing classical music to the widest possible audience by presenting it in a way that is accessible and relevant, so we're perfectly in tune with Bristol Proms.” Darren Henley, Managing Director, Classic FM

Tom Morris is Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and has been Associate Director of the National Theatre since 2004. He has a notable history of staging innovative takes on classical music and opera, including The Death of Klinghoffer (ENO and the Metropolitan Opera); Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (National Theatre); Coram Boy (developed with Melly Still, National Theatre) and Jerry Springer: The Opera (Producer, BAC).

The oldest working theatre in the country, Bristol Old Vic has been a concert hall and playhouse since its opening in 1766, with a hugely popular series of promenade concerts in the 1840s, featuring Paganini, amongst others. For the first time since last year's redevelopment, the Theatre will be making use of the recovered standing pit at the front of the stage so audiences can stand on the very same spot as they might have during the 18th century for just £5.


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