At 85, Ravi Shankar makes his Proms debut to star in 111th Proms

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From the Spanish tenor Placido Domingo to the legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, an eclectic selection of renowned musicians will perform for the first time at the Proms this year.

From the Spanish tenor Placido Domingo to the legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, an eclectic selection of renowned musicians will perform for the first time at the Proms this year.

The line-up of musicians came to light as organisers of the BBC Proms concert unveiled details yesterday of 70 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

As well as attracting top-calibre musicians, it is a particularly historic year for the summer event, which marks its 111th birthday this year.

A series of concerts will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War as well as the bicentenary of the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and the Battle of Trafalgar.

Domingo is due to join a performance of Wagner's Die Walkure on 18 July as he makes his debut at the annual summer festival.

Other musicians to appear for the first time at the Proms include the world music star Baaba Maal, from Senegal, who will play with his band Daande Lenol (The Voice of the People).

The sitarist Shankar, 85, will also perform his Sitar Concerto No 1 alongside his musician daughter Anoushka in August.

Unveiling the summer programme, Nicholas Kenyon, the Proms organiser, described the Indian musician as "one of the great legends of musical life today".

In another new development for the summer event, 100 musicians under the age of 18 are due to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform a series of pieces including Ottorino Respighi's The Pines of Rome.

Organisers will also offer half-price Proms tickets to music-loving under-16s for the first time this summer. Describing the involvement of the young musicians, Mr Kenyon said: "It's quite a risky but exciting project."

Themes of "The Sea" and "Fairy Tales" have been selected to shape the programme of events for this year's summer festival.

Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar will be commemorated with a series of concerts, ranging from Ralph Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony and Joseph Haydn's Nelson Mass to Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore.

The passing of 200 years since the birth of Hans Christian Andersen will be celebrated with The Fairy Queen, Henry Purcell's epic semi-opera. Other music to be performer includes Igor Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss and Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

To commemorate the anniversary of the Second World War, there will also be a first-night performance of A Child of Our Time by Sir Michael Tippett and a late-night rendition of Henryk Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Eighteen new works, including pieces by composers Marc-André Dalbavie and Detlev Glanert, will be premiered while the African Children's Choir makes its Proms debut on 7 August.

The impresario Robert Newman, seeking to bring music to a wider audience, brought the first Proms concert to the Queen's Hall in London on 10 August 1895.

This year's event, which will run from 15 July to 10 September, costs £8m a year to stage and receive almost £4m from box office sales and advertising.

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