In 1985, Jan Van Esbroeck and Jan Vereecke took on the challenge to organize a classical concert for their fellow students. When compiling the program, they added contemporary music to classical pieces, hoping to increase the appeal of the show. They named the concert “First Night of the Proms – Classic Meets Pop” after the Last Night of the Proms, the final concert of the BBC promenade concerts. The first Night of the Proms took place on October 19, 1985, it gathered an audience of 13,000.
The first show was an incredible success, so it became a regular event sometimes held more than once a year. By 1995, Night of the Proms had expanded abroad to five countries. Today, the NotP concerts are held in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Luxembourg, and the United States. Sometimes shows are also held in Austria, France, Spain and Switzerland.
Night of the Proms offers the unique combination of classical and pop music that attracts music lovers from all over the world as well as renowned performers who are not afraid to experiment. The festival has proven time and again that classical music can be as enjoyable as contemporary music, and that symphonic orchestras can really rock.
Over the years, Night of the Proms has welcomed performers from all over the world. Previous guests include Ace of Base, Gloria Estefan, Anastacia, The Baseballs, Andrea Bocelli, Boy George, Joe Cocker, Coolio, Chris De Burgh, Lara Fabian, Sinead O’Connor, Meat Loaf, Manfred Mann, Cyndi Lauper, Al Jarreau, Morten Harket (A-ha), David Garrett, Roxette, Safri Duo, Status Quo, Sting, Bonnie Tyler, Wet Wet Wet, Zucchero, and many others. The artists are backed by the 70-piece classical orchestra Il Novecento, a virtuoso rock band, backup singers, and a choir.
Today, Night of the Proms is more than just a series of concerts. It is a leading cultural brand that unites thousands of music lovers from different countries. To day, over 10 million people of all ages and musical taste have attended at least one of the 900+ concerts since the project’s inception in 1985.
Photo by Joan_Fuster