Tonight the curtain will be drawn on an innovative BBC Proms season. From the opening of the festival which saw the Royal Albert Hall lit up as never before for Anna Meredith and 59 Productions’ world premiere, Five Telegrams, to the first ever Prom in Virtual Reality, audiences were able to experience the world’s greatest classical music festival in new and exciting ways.

Once again, the BBC Proms is thrilled to have welcomed over 300,000 people to events at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and Proms at ... concerts. The average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall was 91% and more than 12,000 under-18s attended the Proms.

42 premieres were heard this summer: 6 companion pieces to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos by some of today’s leading composers were heard across two Proms in one day; 24 works by women were performed, 17 of which were new, and 11 of these were BBC commissions; 8 women never previously commissioned by the BBC offered new works to the weekly Proms Chamber Music series; and Anna Meredith and Roxanna Panufnik received the coveted First Night and Last Night commissions.

The commitment to reflecting some of the brightest compositional talent of the day complemented fresh deliveries of best-loved classical works, as the BBC Proms 2018 drew leading orchestras and artists from across the globe to deliver world-class performances for our new and returning audiences. In the penultimate weekend alone, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Kirill Petrenko and Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons performed on the same day - the Berliners’ account of Beethoven’s 7th symphony, and Boston’s ‘Mahler 3’ providing new interpretations of works known so well.

This season there were also some remarkable debuts: the seven-year old ‘Estonian Festival Orchestra’; the 100-year old ‘Orchestre de la Suisse Romande’; BSO Resound, the UK’s first, professional, disabled-led ensemble and MusicAeterna under pioneering conductor Teodor Currentzis with a revelatory performance of Beethoven’s symphonies Nos 2 and 5.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms, reflects on a number of these highlights: “It’s hard to believe that 8 weeks have passed since the First Night of the Proms and I can still recall the thrill and excitement of the premiere of Anna Meredith’s ‘Five Telegrams’ - surely the most spectacular launch the Proms has ever seen. A groundbreaking work in which composer and visual artists worked hand-in-hand to explore how the two art forms could be combined, and which has since been seen at the opening of the Edinburgh International Festival as well as forming the basis for our first ever Virtual Reality Prom. This is just one of many ways in which the Proms this summer has continued to innovate, whether through the new venues we have visited, the 42 premieres we presented, or the new concert formats we have explored”.

Craig Hassall, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, says: “The BBC Proms season has been – once again – an absolute joy: an inspiring, innovative and invigorating celebration of the world’s finest classical music. We are particularly proud this year to have hosted the second Relaxed Prom, following the success of the initial event in 2017. This concert, which is open to all – including young people and adults with autism, sensory and communication impairments and learning disabilities, and those with dementia – creates a very special and welcoming atmosphere, and it was wonderful to see so many people coming to the Hall for the first time and being able to experience the thrill of live music.”

123 years since it was founded, the 2018 BBC Proms ran from Friday 13 July to Saturday 8 September and featured eight weeks of concerts, talks, workshops, family events and more.

Headline stats:

Over 300,000 people attended BBC Proms events at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, and ‘Proms at...’ series 91% average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall

Over 50% of Proms in the Royal Albert Hall were sold out Over 70,000 Prommers came through the doors of the Royal Albert Hall, purchasing standing tickets which are sold on the day for just £6

Over 32,500 tickets were bought by people attending the Proms for the first time

Over 12,000 under 18s attended concerts across the season Over 1,500 young artists took to the Royal Albert Hall stage this summer

On average over 280,000 browsers in the UK visited BBC Proms pages every week throughout the season.

Nearly 2 million requests to watch or listen to Proms content online via the BBC

Record levels of requests were made to watch performances live online

50% increase in catch-up listening in downloads of concerts in the iPlayerRadio app

2 million views (up 68% on 2017) of clips across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube across the world, as the BBC Proms reach continued to grow on social platforms

To serve audiences in their onward-journey from the BBC Proms, ‘Our Classical Century’ launches this autumn. The landmark season will celebrate the greatest classical music moments in the UK over the last 100 years, across BBC television and radio. In addition, BBC Radio 3 recently announced a number of autumn highlights, including: a celebratory season exploring the music of Hector Berlioz; a host of exciting broadcasts for Opera on 3 including Wagner’s Ring Cycle from the Royal Opera House conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano and David Sawer’s new opera The Skating Rink; plus, the station will also host a forum to help increase BAME diversity in classical composition.


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