Proms are seeking a wider still and wider audience

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The Independent Culture

Performances by leading Asian and Cuban musicians, cheap tickets for under-16s and a "poetry proms" are being introduced to create a more youthful look for the 2000 BBC Proms season, which runs from 14 July to 9 September.

Performances by leading Asian and Cuban musicians, cheap tickets for under-16s and a "poetry proms" are being introduced to create a more youthful look for the 2000 BBC Proms season, which runs from 14 July to 9 September.

In an attempt to steer the classical musical festival's image away from "middle-aged flag wavers", it will feature a new work by the Asian musician Nitin Sawhney, a millennium youth day and cut-priceticket packages, organisers announced yesterday.

The director of BBC Proms 2000, Nicholas Kenyon, said: "We've got 100 years of tradition behind us but what we want to do as we go into the next century is to make sure that the Proms is reinventing itself."

He said he would like to see "people from 10, 11 and 12" attending and enjoying Proms concerts. "You have to make a splash. You have to say, 'We are doing some very definite thing to show we are looking after young people'."

A special youth-flavoured event will be a cross-Channel collaboration between the choruses and orchestras of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Paris Conservatoire Philharmonia Chorus.

Other firsts at this year's event, once again centred at the Albert Hall, will include commissions and readings from the Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, and Simon Armitage.

After past celebrations of Indian music, this year's season will showcase an evening of Cuban sounds. Among those taking part will be the dance act Los Van Vanm and Vocal Sampling, a sextet that uses onlyhands and voices to create the effect of a 20-piece salsa band.

Other highlights include a first-night performance by the former child prodigy Evgeny Kissin and a last-night Proms début by the 20-year-old American violinist, Hilary Hahn.

The Proms will be broadcast live, from start to finish, on Radio 3 and 10 concerts will be screened on BBC1 and BBC2.

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