First ever Proms Festival Orchestra announced as BBC reveals four mystery Proms

BBC Proms today reveals details of the four mystery Proms taking place this summer. In response to the ever developing pandemic landscape, planning these concerts was held to enable the festival to be flexible and respond to the changing times. 

For the first time, the Proms Festival Orchestra will come together for a concert on Wednesday 8 September. Made up exclusively of freelance musicians, conductor Mark Wigglesworth will lead the orchestra in Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Mahler’s Symphony No.5.

On Friday 20 August the Britten Sinfonia and National Youth Chamber Choir perform Mozart’s Requiem conducted by David Bates. The Prom will open with a selection of excerpts from operas by Jean-Philippe Rameau and an orchestral work by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

On Monday 23 August acclaimed duo Catrin Finch (harp) and Seckou Keita (kora) will perform at the Proms together for the first time.

For the final mystery Prom on Friday 10 September, pianist Pavel Kolesnikov returns to the Royal Albert Hall to perform J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the penultimate night of the 2021 festival.

David Pickard, Director of the Proms says:

“Programming responsively has been an exciting challenge for this year’s Proms. We held back four concerts in order to allow us to put together the final touches on a season that shows the breadth and talent we have in live music-making today. We are very pleased to be able to engage so many outstanding freelance musicians to form our first Proms Festival Orchestra. Coming together for Mahler’s Fifth Symphony will be an extraordinary and moving experience given the tremendous challenges faced by freelance musicians throughout the pandemic.” 

Mystery Proms programmes


Jean-Philippe Rameau
Hippolyte et Aricie – Bruit de tonnerre 
Hippolyte et Aricie – Ritornello 
Dardanus – Tambourins I & II 
Castor et Pollux – ‘Tristes apprêts’ 

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Symphony No. 2 in D major 

Jean-Philippe Rameau
Dardanus – ‘Lieux funestes’ 
Platée – Orage 
Les Indes galantes – Chaconne 

Mozart Requiem

Samantha Clarke soprano
Claudia Huckle contralto
Nick Pritchard tenor
William Thomas bass

National Youth Chamber Choir 
Britten Sinfonia
David Bates conductor


Catrin Finch harp
Seckou Keita kora

Full programme to be announced


Shostakovich Festive Overture 
Mahler Symphony No. 5 
Proms Festival Orchestra 

Mark Wigglesworth conductor


Bach Goldberg Variations 

Pavel Kolesnikov piano

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