American Conductors at the 2012 BBC Proms in London

Royal Albert Hall(Photo: Wikipedia)
Royal Albert Hall(Photo: Wikipedia)

In addition to American athletes taking a lot of gold at the Olympics, American conductors are taking to the podium at the BBC Proms concerts in London.  Even as the Olympics is in its second week and ending with Sunday’s closing ceremony, the annual Proms concerts are in full swing.

David Robertson, music director of the St. Louis Symphony, appeared August 1, leading the BBC orchestra and chorus in Sir Michael Tippett’s, A Child of Our Time.  He was appointed principal guest conductor of that ensemble in 2005. Of course, there had to be some American music as well, so he led the Orchestra in Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Ive’s The Unanswered Question.

Composer and conductor John Adams has already led a concert at this year’s Proms that included some of his own music, City Noir, as well as Respighi and Ravel.  On September 5, he’ll conduct a semi-staged performance of his opera, Nixon in China.

JoAnn Falletta made her Proms debut Monday leading the Ulster Orchestra, of which she is now principal conductor in addition to being music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Virgina Symphony Orchestra back in the U.S.A.  She led the Ulster Orchestra in Mozart with flutist James Galway, a piece commissioned for the Proms from Belfast-based composer Elaine Agnew, plus Stravinky’s Firebird Suite and Chabrier’s Espana, including the Ulster Youth Orchestra.

Marin Alsop, who has a long association with British orchestras and has appeared at the Proms several times before, will conduct there August 15 with Brazil’s Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra.  Alsop, who is music director of the Baltimore Symphony, has this year become principal conductor of what is considered Brazil’s leading orchestra in the largest metropolis in the Southern Hemisphere.  She will lead the ensemble in Dvorak’s New World Symphony, as well as music of Copland and Ginastera.

As we get ready to say goodbye to the 2012 London Olympics this Sunday, here’s saying hello to great music making (including notable Americans) continuing on from the Royal Albert Hall for the rest of August.

Here’s a sample of Marin Alsop leading the Sao Paulo Symphony: