Some more super stats

Some more super stats


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2009

The BBC Proms have ended with another set of record attendances, five percent up overall and 87 percent averages at the Royal Albert Hall, night after night over eight weeks.

More encouraging still, 37,000 attenders were first-timers and there was a sharp rise in the number of under-16s in the hall. Several of the new-music nights were sell-outs

Following on good returns from Salzburg and Glyndebourne, the classical audience appears to be holding steady and even increasing during the recession – at least in those festivals where innovation weights just as heavily as tradition.

The full BBC press release follows:



Press information: 11 September 2009


Strong figures for 2009 BBC Proms with record attendances among new and young audiences


  • 5% increase in overall attendances for largest ever Proms season
  • 87% average attendance for Royal Albert Hall concerts
  • 11% increase in number of people buying tickets for the first time
  • 32% increase in numbers of under-16s attending

As the 115th season of BBC Proms 2009 comes to its spectacular conclusion on Saturday 12 September, with more people than ever around the world expected to join in the festivities, Roger Wright announced that audiences in 2009 are in line with last year’s record-breaking season, with particular success in reaching new and young audiences.


Roger Wright, Director of BBC Proms, says:

The 2009 BBC Proms has seen two months of outstanding and inspiring music-making, featuring leading musicians and orchestras from the UK and abroad. The BBC’s commitment to the Proms remains vital and it is heartening to see again the strong appreciation of Proms audiences, not least in their curiosity for new and unfamiliar music. We are delighted that in offering excellence, a value-for-money experience and a broad programme, we are succeeding in reaching new and young audiences.”


With 12 extra Cadogan Hall concerts in 2009, the audience grew overall by 5% with 297,500 tickets sold*. Average attendance for the 76 Royal Albert Hall concerts was 87%, on a par with recent years.


Through the BBC’s commitment to the Proms, the festival continues to offer value-for-money ticket prices, broad programming, creative use of interactive technology, an extensive learning programme, and a rich contextual offering of daily pre-concert and participatory events,  all of which help to enrich the core audience’s experience and reach new and young attenders. 37,000 people bought tickets for the first time, an 11% increase on 2008. Nearly 5,000 people under the age of 16 took advantage of the half-price seats for every concert (excluding the Last Night), a 32% increase on 2008.


80,000 people are expected to attend BBC Proms in the Park events around the UK in London, County Down, Glasgow, Swansea and Salford, featuring artists including Barry Manilow, Katherine Jenkins, Chris de Burgh, Swansea Bach Choir, Nicola Benedetti and the BBC orchestras. These events are broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, BBC Ulster, BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Manchester respectively.


BBC Proms on BBC television this season have reached more than twelve million viewers to date (excluding the Last Night of the Proms and time-shifted viewing via the BBC iPlayer), and countless millions more around the world are expected to enjoy the Last Night on every continent of the world via cinema screens, television and radio.


In 2009, the BBC Proms staged more events than ever with 100 concerts, including 76 in the Royal Albert Hall, 19 chamber music concerts at Cadogan Hall, and five BBC Proms in the Park events around the country on the Last Night. This was 12 more concerts than in 2008. There were a further 70 Proms Plus events – talks, workshops, films, free performances and activities – offering extra context and insight to audiences on every one of the 58 days of the season.


The BBC Proms remains committed to new music with 12 BBC commissions in 2009 and a further 15 world, UK or London premieres. There was also a significant body of music by important voices of the 20th and 21st centuries, including such composers as Lutoslawski, Zimmermann, Ligeti, Xenakis and Takemitsu.


Along with many of the UK‘s leading orchestras and a glittering array of ensembles – from Amsterdam to Zurich (taking in Budapest, Dresden, Leipzig, Lyons and Vienna along the way) – many of the world’s most celebrated artists performed. These ranged from pianists Lang Lang and Martha Argerich to soprano Dawn Upshaw, violinists Joshua Bell and Gidon Kremer to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as well as such conductors as Riccardo Chailly, William Christie, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta and Sir Charles Mackerras, to name but a few.


Among the highlights in 2009 were big weekends celebrating tenth anniversaries of BBC Radio 3’s New Generations Artists scheme and Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The celebration of MGM film musicals inspired much acclaim from audiences and critics alike and a Late Night Proms concert with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was perhaps the most talked-about concert of the season.



* all concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall, not including free events and BBC Proms in the Park