The Making of BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead: Folk Connections, 2022
BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead was a musical experience like no other. Outside of its usual London residence, the world’s biggest classical music festival, BBC Proms, made its Northern debut at Sage Gateshead.
Whether it was someone’s first time at a Prom, or they were a lifelong fan, this was an exciting opportunity to take in the magic of the BBC Proms meeting the spirit of the North East.
We shared stories from behind the scenes, introduced the artists and visited rehearsals as the Voices of the Rivers Edge choir, Royal Northern Sinfonia and folk ensemble Spell Songs as they prepared for this memorable performance.
‘Audiences can stand, dance and move about… The atmosphere is fun, energetic and informal and great to experience with friends – old and new’
What is 'Promming'?
It’s different from traditional seating or formal classical concerts, the feeling of being part of the action, up close and personal and at one with the music is very special… and this is the first time BBC Proms took place at Sage Gateshead.
A Prom (short for ‘promenade’) is a unique type of concert. Part of the audience is seated, while others are standing or ‘promenading’ in front of the stage. This means audiences can dance, move about, or make themselves comfortable on the floor. Audience members can be right near the stage or further back in the hall. The atmosphere is fun, energetic and informal and great to experience with friends – old and new.
We’re proud that the Prom showcased our brilliant orchestra, collaboration with communities, young people and musicians of all styles.
BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead celebrated the connections between folk and classical music. The North East is famous for folk music and classical composers have long looked to these traditions for inspiration.
John Adams’s breakthrough work Shaker Loops opened the programme followed by the world premiere of Judith Weir’s Indelible, Miraculous – an a cappella setting of Julia Darling’s poem of the same name.
Musicians from folk ensemble Spell Songs, Karine Polwart, Rachael Newton and Jim Molyneux performed four songs, arranged especially for choir and orchestra by Molyneux as well as his arrangement of local folksong ‘The Water of Tyne’ led by local folk singer Jayne Dent aka Me Lost ME. Antonín Dvořak’s Ninth and final symphony rounded off the evening.
Meet the Artists
Behind The Scenes: BBC Proms Blogger
What is it like to perform in a BBC Prom? Our Proms Blogger, Tabitha Topping shares her experiences.