Prom Idols: Pop stars to sing at classical concert

Will Young, the winner of the television series Pop Idol, and Gareth Gates, the runner-up, are to sing at the Proms later this month.

Nicholas Kenyon, the Proms director, said the pair would sing with the BBC Philharmonic and perform songs from musicals as well as their own single at the CBBC Prom In The Park, which rounds off the season.

Mr Kenyon said Young and Gates would help to introduce a new generation to the concerts. "They are two people that kids really relate to," he said. "We have to recognise there is no longer a dividing line between the classical and pop worlds. They're not in completely separate camps – there's an overlap.

"You've got to move with your audience but you mustn't move faster than them. They are just as happy with the Buena Vista Social Club as they are with the classical masterpieces." But Mr Kenyon added: "The Proms will always be a festival based on the great classical repertory."

Mr Kenyon's comments came a few days after an opinion poll that showed many youngsters could not identify even one classical composer.

Young is to perform Summertime from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, while Gates will sing Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum. Together they will perform the Beatles' The Long and Winding Road.

The concert is in Hyde Park, London on 15 September, the day after the Last Night of the Proms. This year the last night features excerpts from long-lost arrangements by the founder and first conductor of the Proms, Henry Wood.

Excerpts from his arrangements of Scottish and Welsh tunes were last performed in 1909, since when they had lain in the vaults of the Royal Academy of Music.

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