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BBC invites amateur musicians to take part in Last Night of the Proms

Daniel Gumble
BBC invites amateur musicians to take part in Last Night of the Proms

The BBC is calling on amateur musicians and lapsed players aged 16 and over to get involved with this year’s Last Night of the Proms celebrations on September 10th.

Today (Tuesday, May 24th), BBC Music launched its online ‘virtual’ orchestra, which offers amateur and lapsed players the chance to feature in a unique digital performance.

To be in with a chance of joining the orchestra, musicians needs simply upload a short video of themselves playing The Toreador Song from Bizet’s opera Carmen to the BBC Get Playing website by Saturday, August 27th. A whole range of instruments are welcome and there will be arrangements on the Get Playing website for everything from piano and guitar to bagpipes. The BBC will then edit the videos into a three-minute performance, which will be shown on BBC iPlayer and Big Screens at Proms in the Park around the UK.

The BBC Get Playing virtual orchestra will be led by conductor Marin Alsop and features musicians from the Royal Academy of Music.
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Comedian and keen pianist, David Baddiel (pictured), is the ambassador for BBC Get Playing and will be submitting a performance of his own to the virtual orchestra. “There is something about playing music as an amateur which is brilliant and life enriching,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity to be part of something amazing on the biggest night in the classical music calendar, and I hope that everybody will feel able to have a go and join in the fun.”

Conductor Alsop added: “For me it’s incredibly important to support amateur musicians because music is a way to connect, communicate, transcend barriers, transcend differences and perhaps it’s a way to promote tolerance and peace in a world that desperately needs it.”

Anyone who would like help brushing up their playing skills or would like to learn a new instrument can turn to Get Playing partners Making Music, Music For All and ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), which are arranging public practice events during the summer, along with free instrument lessons, helpful support videos and online tips.

Cassian Harrison, channel editor, BBC Four, commented: "Get Playing aims to ignite and celebrate a new wave of amateur music making across the country, uniting music lovers young and old and getting them involved in the spectacular Last Night of the Proms celebrations, one of the biggest musical events in the world.”

The virtual orchestra is part of the BBC Get Playing campaign, which aims to inspire amateur music lovers everywhere to get involved with music.  On TV, Get Playing includes two prime time TV shows for BBC Two and BBC Four – ‘The UK’s Best Part Time Band’ and a series showcasing a contest of the nation’s most inspiring amateur orchestras.

A host of BBC presenters have pledged to support the campaign this summer, including Gemma Cairney and Clara Amfo (BBC Radio 1), Yasmin Evans (BBC Radio 1Xtra), Craig Charles (BBC Radio 2), Katie Derham and Sarah Walker (BBC Radio 3), Reverend Richard Coles (BBC Radio 4),  Clare McDonnell (BBC Radio 5 live), Shaun Keaveny (BBC 6 Music), Nihal (BBC Asian Network), Mark Forrest (BBC Local Radio), Bryan Burnett and John Beattie (BBC Scotland), Anne Lundon (BBC ALBA), Noel Thompson and John Toal (BBC Radio Ulster), Aled Hughes (BBC Radio Cymru) and BBC Wales weather presenters Behnaz Akhgar, Sue Charles, Rhian Haf and Llyr Griffiths-Davies.

The BBC is also providing six special online masterclasses with some of the world's most celebrated musicians, including James Rhodes (piano), Alison Balsom (trumpet) Evelyn Glennie (percussion) Thomas Gould (violin), Courtney Pine (saxophone) and Nitin Sawhney (guitar).

For further information on how to upload to the BBC Get Playing virtual orchestra visit


Tags: last night of the proms , david baddiel , bbc get playing

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