In a season that took its inspiration from the 150th birthday of Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, tonight’s rousing performance of his Sea Songs will have a special significance. This familiar part of the Last Night celebration is just one element of the traditions and values upheld by the festival today laid down by Wood some 124 years ago. With 33 new works heard for the first time this summer, and 33 ‘novelties’ introduced to UK audiences by Wood also included this summer, his desire to innovate and expand both musical horizons and audience reach remains alive and well.
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 89% and more than 12,000 under-18s attended the Proms.
With more than 1,200 young people taking to the Royal Albert Hall stage this summer the inclusion of youth choirs and orchestras across the season testifies to the commitment the Proms has to nurturing young talent.
Digital engagement with the Proms was up across UK streaming by 3%, with live and on-demand audio, live video and Instagram all up on the year. Clips of John Wilson, Nina Simone, Nicola Benedetti and Queen Victoria’s ‘golden’ piano performed particularly well on social media.
Concerts are available for 30 days following broadcast on TV and Radio via BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer with many still available - including last night’s BBC Four broadcasts of Aurora Orchestra’s Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Jonny Greenwood’s Late Night Prom, and for our younger audiences, this morning’s transmission of the CBeebies Prom.
David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms, says: "In Henry Wood’s 150th birthday year, I hope he would have been proud of the extraordinary season we have all shared this summer. Whilst he would not have been familiar with beatboxing, breakdancing or Birtwistle – all part of this year’s programme – I hope he would be proud that his progressive vision for the Proms endures in 2019. With performances from the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and soloists, including Bernard Haitink’s momentous final appearance in the UK, the range and diversity of the Proms remains undimmed. With over 300,000 audience members witnessing these concerts live (not to mention the millions across Radio, TV and online), Wood’s founding principle to ‘bring the best classical music to the widest possible audience’ has never felt more alive."
Craig Hassall, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, says: “We’ve come to the end of another ground-breaking BBC Proms season, having been suitably moved, inspired and uplifted by a truly international range of outstanding talent. We are especially proud of how widely this season catered, from Jonny Greenwood to Nina Simone, and in particular, the return of the award-winning Relaxed Prom. This concert creates such an incredibly welcoming atmosphere, particularly for people that might otherwise find classical concerts challenging – it’s wonderful to see so many people coming to the Hall for the first time, and being able to experience the thrill of live music.”
The Proms by Numbers:
· 58 days
· 89 concerts
· 191 conductors and soloists
· 83 orchestras, ensembles and choirs
· 61 free pre-Prom events
· 100,000 tickets available for £15 or less
· £6 for a Promming ticket