September 15th 1995
Memo: to Nick Kenyon
From: Gavin Bryars
Subject: The Proms
Welcome to your new job and the best of luck. On the few occasions that we’ve met you have always struck me as a thoroughly decent bloke. I wonder if I might offer a couple of friendly thoughts as you start to create your own ethos?
1. Don’t programme anything in your first year that has anything to do with anyone’s birthday or centenary.
2. If you are going to have late night proms, make the one that is conventionally second the earlier of the two. It will help those who have turned up faithfully over the years to get home without using taxis. Those who attend the ‘safer’ programme which is now second, for example a Beethoven or Mozart concert, can have dinner first.
3. Abandon the Last Night and make it merely the last night. To avoid any possibility of excess give this concert to the Hilliard Ensemble performing an all-Gesualdo programme. (Do this concert even if you are queasy about making it end the series).
4. Play more pieces by living composers which are not Prom commissions.
5. Commission composers outside the modernist mainstream, for example John White (whose 60th birthday, to waive temporarily rule 1, is in 1996).
6. If we’re going to have a minimalist input let’s have a concert by Terry Riley for once (which would loosen up the performers).
All the best