huge South London clubbing venue which often hosts dance music events attended by thousands is among the venues for this year’s BBC Proms.
The Printworks, a former printing press for the Evening Standard among other newspapers, will host American singer Anthony Roth Costanzo’s work Glass Handel.
The performance, which includes pieces by 18th century composer Handel and contemporary composer Philip Glass, will also feature live painting by US artist George Condo, who collaborated with Kanye West on paintings for his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as well as choreography by West Side Story’s Justin Peck and costumes by Prada designer Raf Simons.
Costanzo said he was delighted the work, that has already been seen in America, would be performed in a venue that can hold 6,000 clubbers and where visitors are normally told to come “dressed to dance”.
He said: “Printworks is essentially a nightclub and I love the idea that young people have an association with it.
“What happened to a certain extent in New York and Philadelphia – and I hope this continues in London – is that we got some people who have never really engaged with classical music, or have no particular vision of what it is, who will walk into Printworks and see an incredible dancer or a painting being made.
“Maybe they’ve come because they are interested in George Condo or some other aspect of it and they’ll find themselves thinking, ‘You know, this music is actually quite beautiful.’”
The annual classical music festival has long sought to expand its audience and this year’s schedule includes proms dedicated to the music of legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin, a history of computer gaming music, and a performance by Oscar-nominated actress Cynthia Erivo of songs made famous by singers including Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey and Billie Holiday.
Proms director David Pickard said the classical music institution, which began in 1895, was “back with a vengeance” after “two challenging years” disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also in this year’s schedule are performances of Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as well as an Earth Prom, presented by
TV naturalist Chris Packham, which will explore the work of the BBC’s natural history unit which broadcast Sir David Attenborough’s earliest adventures.
There will also be an appearance by the newly-formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra which includes musicians who are now refugees and Ukrainian members of European orchestras.
The Last Night Of The Proms will be led by Dalia Stasevska, featuring star soloists Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2016, and a world premiere by James B Wilson.