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BBC Proms 2012: That Long Walk

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Every year thousands of classical music fans face the long walk between South Kensington Tube station and the Royal Albert Hall to encounter some of the greatest performances we will ever know. That long walk, up Exhibition Road, gets shorter as the festival progresses and the anticipation builds... Of course, the BBC Proms.

The BBC Proms stands tall as the biggest classical music festival in the world and what makes the Proms stand even taller this year is the exquisite programming that will fill the two-month festival.

Booking opens to the general public tomorrow (Saturday 12 May) so over the next few days I'll be talking to some of the Proms' artists this season about what they are looking forward to; they may help you make some impossible decisions.

Today, the faces of the BBC Proms, Katie and Petroc, have told me what they are most looking forward to hearing this season.

Katie Derham
Presenter of the BBC Proms on BBC One, Two and Four a.k.a Queen of the Proms

Prom 45 Wed 15 August, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra
The visit of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra with Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire and conductor Marin Alsop with a celebration of the New World, Copland and Villa Lobos (one of my favourite composers) - with an audience full of Brazilians excited by the Olympic handover, the atmosphere will be crackling.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 15 August and broadcast on BBC Two on 18 August
Prom 2 Sat 14 July & Prom 59 Mon 27 Aug, John Wilson
I always look forward to the John Wilson Proms - My Fair Lady should be a hoot, but I know I'll also love his celebration of the Broadway Sound in Prom 59. Prom 2 live on BBC Radio 3 on 14 July / Prom 59 live on BBC Radio 3 on 27 August and broadcast on BBC Two on 1 September
Prom 18 Thurs 27 July, Beethoven's Ninth
One of the huge events of this Proms season is the Barenboim cycle - all of the Beethoven symphonies, performed by his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra - the perfect symbolic choice for Olympics year. I'm particularly looking forward to Beethoven 9, Prom 18 which should be an unforgettable night.  Prom 18 TX Live on BBC Radio 3 on 27 July and broadcast on BBC Two on 28 July.
Prom 32 Mon 6 August, Bernstein Mass
A new work for me will be the Bernstein Mass, Prom 32. Bernstein's work is so full of life and energy, and some consider this his masterpiece - It's the first time it has been performed at the Proms, and it's being conducted by one of its most ardent champions, Kristjan Jarvi. I'll have the best seat in the house - the BBC Radio 3 presentation box.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 6 August and broadcast on BBC Four on 6 September.
Prom 20 Sun 29 July, Musical Marvels
And ...I can't resist ... the Wallace and Gromit Prom Musical Marvels. My favourite cartoon characters alongside the wonderful Aurora Orchestra, Nick Collon and the ever smiling virtuoso Tasmin Little. What's not to like? I'll be there, enjoying every second.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 29 July and for future broadcast on BBC One

Petroc Trelawny
Presenter of the BBC Proms on BBC Radio 3

PSM 1  Sat 21 July Mahan Eshfahani
This Tehran born, American raised, UK based harpsichordist is at the top of his game - I love hearing him play, and his performance of Bach's Art of Fugue will be an intense, deeply satisfying Saturday afternoon treat.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 21 July
Prom 36 Thur 9 Aug  Ivor Novello night
People sometimes dismiss Novello as being dated. Not so, his songs epitomise glamour and a distinct period in English musical theatre.  Will Mark Elder sing alongside Toby Spence and Sophie Bevan? He has form here.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 9 August and broadcast on BBC Two on 11 August
Prom 46  Thur 16 Aug  R3 & BBC4  Vaughan Williams
A night dedicated to one composer -  Vaughan Williams reflecting Britain's perilous position in the 1930s and 40s.  This is perhaps the most important triptych of English symphonies,  and I can't wait to hear what Andre Manze does with them.
Live on BBC Radio 3 and broadcast on BBC 4 on 16 August
Prom 55  Fri 24th August Peter Grimes
This is one of my favourite operas, with a gripping story and Britten's stunningly orchestrated score. With an A -list of British operatic talent and dynamic conductor Ed Gardner leading  ENO,  a company that keeps winning prizes, this will be unmissable.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 24 August
Prom 33  Tue 7 August  BBCPO
Two composers deeply inspired by their faith, Bruckner and James MacMillan. The premiere of MacMillan's new piece Credo will be well worth hearing - and Juanjo Mena is doing exciting work with BBC's Manchester based orchestra.
Live on BBC Radio 3 on 7 August and on broadcast on BBC4 on 10 August

Booking opens tomorrow (12 May) at www.bbc.co.uk/proms