Proms 2014: Pet Shop Boys to premiere new work on computer pioneer Alan Turing
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Thursday 24 April 2014
The Pet Shop Boys are set for a star turn at this year’s Proms with the world premiere of a work about the life of Second World War code-breaker and father of computer science Alan Turing.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe will join the BBC Concert Orchestra on stage at the Royal Albert Hall this July for their Proms debut with A Man from the Future.
The news was revealed as part of the 2014 programme for the BBC Proms, which opens at the Royal Albert Hall on 18 July, and comprises 92 concerts.
Highlights include visits from international orchestras for the first time, a war hymn by the founder of the Proms possibly performed for the first time and a concert for toddlers.
One coup is convincing the Pet Shop Boys to premiere their new work during the season. Turing was a mathematician and computer pioneer who played a crucial role in cracking the Enigma codes, which is seen as shortening the war by years.
Roger Wright, director of the Proms and controller of BBC Radio 3, called it a “remarkable piece” that will help “build new audiences”. He said: “It will be telling the Turing story but not strictly in a narrative way.”
In 1952, Turing was convicted of gross indecency after admitting sexual relations with a man and underwent chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later. Following a campaign to clear Turing’s name, he received a royal pardon in December.
The piece was written for orchestra, choir, and electronics and will have a narrator using material based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.
The Pet Shop Boys said in a statement it was an “honour” to present new music at the Proms “and celebrate Alan Turing 60 years after his death”.
The Proms, which is the largest and longest running music festival after it was founded in 1895, will run for eight weeks over the summer. Conductors involved include Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and Marin Alsop as well as Sir Neville Marriner who is 90 years old.
The season of classical music will involve 10 international ensembles from around the globe appearing for the first time. Orchestras making their Proms debut come from countries including China, Qatar and Lapland.
To mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, the season will include the New War Hymn, written by Sir Henry Wood, the founder of the Proms, which the organisers believe could be its first performance at the event.
As well as the vast array of classical works to be performed including Der Rosenkavalier, Salome and Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions, artists including Paloma Faith and Rufus Wainwright will be making their debut.
Other events include the first BBC Sport Prom, featuring classical music used in sporting events as well as the Match of the Day theme tune, as well as two CBeebies concerts staged for the first time.
Mr Wright said: “It’s always about looking for new audiences and never resting on laurels about assuming people will know about classical music. At the same time we want to take audiences further.”
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 2 Fifa corruption arrests: Nike reported to be 'multinational sportswear company' at centre of bribery claims over Brazil shirt deal
- 3 Facebook Messenger sends 'creepily' precise location data, as revealed by Marauders Map Chrome extension
- 4 Bahar Mustafa: Goldsmiths Students' Union diversity officer to keep her job after vote of no confidence petition fails
- 5 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
Grace of Monaco film panned: Screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman as movie gets US debut
Big Brother contestant Aaron Frew removed from house for 'inappropriate behaviour' after flashing fellow contestants
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
San Andreas 3D, film review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's disaster movie has clear fault lines
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote