The BBC Proms closed last night with near-record attendances of 93 percent. That’s around 4,000 paying listeners a night, every night for seven weeks, plus more at lunchtime and afternoon performances.
This summer the Proms faced direct competition from the Olympics, along with severe traffic diversions and a deep economic depression. Did that stop people going to concerts? See the stats below.
Some maintain that the Proms succeed because they receieve massive exposure on BBC radio and television. I would reply that so do sheepdog trials and snooker, both of which are suffering steep audience decline.
There is no rocket science here. There is a large audience to orchestral music and it will respond to a familiar brand, allied to the prospect of c0nstant innovation. Allow the second aspect to atrophy, as some managements have done, and the audience will fall away. Keep the formula fresh and it will just keep coming back. Simple, really.
Press information issued 8 September 2012
The end of an extraordinary summer
- · 93% average attendance for main evening concerts in Royal Albert Hall
- · 51 of 76 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out
- · Over 300,000 attend the 88 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall
After a packed two months the 118th season of the BBC Proms comes to a thrilling conclusion this evening with the world-renowned Last Night of the Proms, led by conductor Jiri Bêlohlávek and featuring tenor Joseph Calleja and violinist Nicola Benedetti, at the Royal Albert Hall, part of the final weekend of an extraordinary summer in Britain.
Average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this year was 93%, just below last year’s record level of 94%. 51 of 76 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out and over 300,000 people attended concerts at both the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall.
More than 35,000 people bought tickets for the first time and over 7,500 under 18s attended concerts across the season. Record numbers of tickets were sold on the first day of sales with over 100,000 tickets purchased.
Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms, says:
“I’m delighted that the 2012 BBC Proms have been so successful with audiences, particularly in such an unique summer in London. The high attendance figures are a reminder of the strength of the BBC Proms brand and the festival’s vision to bring classical music to the largest possible audience. There has been a demonstrable excitement in embracing a wide range of music throughout the festival. The great value for money which the Proms offers is thanks to the ongoing commitment of the BBC.”
Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Albert Hall says:
“In an exceptional year for the capital, the BBC Proms stand out as the international cultural event of the summer; a truly representative and extremely successful celebration of the very best classical artists from around the globe. It has been a privilege to once again host the world’s greatest classical music festival on the world’s most famous stage”.
From Beethoven to Boulez; tap dancers to organist Cameron Carpenter’s fancy-footwork; a dedicated John Cage evening to an animated dog playing the violin, this season has truly celebrated the vast range of music the Proms champions. With more new music than ever before the BBC Proms demonstrated its commitment to contemporary work with 31 world premieres, 26 of which were BBC commissions.
With Promming tickets remaining at £5 for the seventh year, the festival continues to offer great value for money, broad programming and creative use of interactive technology and social media with more than 16,000 Twitter followers. The Proms website built on new initiatives including streaming concerts in HD Sound which was made available outside the UK for the first time through a syndication agreement with American Public Media.
The Proms offers an extensive learning programme with a rich offering of daily pre-concert and participatory events to enrich the audience’s experience and reach new and young attenders. Sir Henry Wood, founder-conductor of the Proms, believed in making the best-quality classical music available to the widest possible audience and that ambition remains central to the BBC Proms today as shown in the John Cage centenary celebrations which included the first Proms Music Walk where audience members downloaded 10 new commissions to accompany pieces of performance art around South Kensington.
For the first time ever the Last Night of the Proms will be streamed in 3D in cinemas across the UK. Coverage on BBC television continued to grow with more than 11 million viewers tuning in to see the Proms on television, even before the final two broadcasts of the season, including the Last Night of the Proms. Both the Wallace & Gromit and Broadway Sound Proms had over 1.5 million viewers on BBC One and BBC Two respectively, contributing to a record peak in weekly online traffic, up 92% year on year. Katie Derham has been the face of the Proms on BBC Two for the third year running and the BBC Four Proms have been led on screen by Samira Ahmed, Charles Hazlewood, Suzy Klein and Petroc Trelawny. Concerts will have been broadcast across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, and for the first time in 3D on the BBC HD channel. All services are available to listen and watch again on bbc.co.uk/proms and via the BBC iPlayer.
BBC Radio 3 broadcasts every Proms programme live, with an ambitious range of contextual programming around the music, including many of the Proms Plus events as well as interviews, talks, essays and features.
Highlights in 2012 have included Daniel Barenboim’s complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies coupled with major works by Pierre Boulez performed by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, culminating in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to coincide with the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Requests on YouTube for one of the four television excerpts from the Beethoven Ninth stand at just under 14,000 and total requests for clips from the 2012 Proms season on YouTube are 190,000 and growing.
This year also saw the first ever Desert Island Discs Prom to celebrate the programme’s 70th anniversary. The John Wilson Orchestra returned to the Proms with two star-studded performances in the Broadway Sound Prom and My Fair Lady, his first complete musical at the Proms.
Youth was a major focus at this year’s Proms with the first ever performance by the BBC Proms Youth Choir and a weekend celebrating UK youth ensembles. The Children’s Prom this year included the premiere of My Concerto in Ee, Lad from Wallace & Gromit, performed by the Aurora Orchestra with violinist Tasmin Little and conductor Nicholas Collon. Visiting orchestras included the Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and debut Proms performances from the St Louis Symphony and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the first ever Brazilian orchestra at the Proms.