Attendance records broken at 2011 BBC Proms

Roger Wright last night announced the new heights attained by this season’s Proms.

Contrary to expectations, in a summer without the Berlin or Vienna Philharmoic, the Concertgebouw, Cleveland and other big bangers, attendances actually rose to a record 94%. That’s 2% up on 2010, 3% up on 2009.

More than 300,000 people attended classical concerts over seven weeks.

52 out of 74 concerts were totally sold out. Two million watched one of the concerts on BBC2 television.

The downside? There isn’t one.

But just wait for next year when the Proms meet the Olympic Games.

Photo of Proms Controller Roger Wright

Here’s today’s press release:

Picture (Metafile)

Press information issued 9 September 2011

Record-breaking season for BBC Proms 2011

  • 94% average attendance for main evening concerts in Royal Albert Hall
  • 52 of 74 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out
  • Over 300,000 attend the 86 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall

As the 117th season of BBC Proms approaches the world-famous Last Night of the Proms on Saturday, Roger Wright, Controller, BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms, announces that it has been a record-breaking season.

Average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this year was 94%, compared with 92% in 2010. 52 of 74 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out, three more than the previous year. With two concerts to go, over 300,000 people have already attended concerts at both the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall.

Over 36,000 people bought tickets for the first time and more than 5,000 under 16s attended concerts across the season, not including the free sold out Horrible Histories Prom aimed at families. Record numbers of tickets were sold on the first day of sales with over 87,000 tickets purchased. 

Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms, says:
I’m delighted that the 2011 BBC Proms have been so successful with audiences, particularly given the large amount of new and unfamiliar music in the broad range of programming. The strong attendance figures are a testament to the adventurous spirit of the Proms audiences, their continuing eagerness to embrace such a wide range of music and the great value for money which the Proms offers thanks to the ongoing commitment of the BBC.”

The festival continues to offer low ticket prices, broad programming and creative use of interactive technology, this year doubling the number of BBC Proms social media followers. 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.

Coverage on BBC television built on the new initiatives that were introduced in 2010, with context and presentation focussing on the musicians themselves and the stories behind the music. Katie Derham has been the face of the Proms on BBC TWO for the second year and the BBC FOUR Proms have been led on screen by Charles Hazlewood, Suzy Klein and Petroc Trelawny. Concerts will have been broadcast across BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC FOUR, CBBC, BBC HD and all services are available to listen and watch again on bbc.co.uk/proms and via the BBC iPlayer. With two major television broadcasts still to come, viewing figures are strong and will be announced in full next week.

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. For the first time this year Radio 3 has offered a downloadable Proms Music Guide in which a number of the station’s presenters introduce a work featured in the Proms concert of the day, creating an indispensable guide to some of the best loved music in the classical repertoire

The BBC Proms remains committed to new music with 12 world premieres including nine of the 11 major BBC commissions, and a further 14 key premieres this season.

Highlights of the season included the return of Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, two Brahms concerts with Bernard Haitink and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, two concerts with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and its founding conductor Iván Fischer, Late Night solo Bach recital by violinist Nigel Kennedy, the free family Horrible Histories Prom and the first ever Comedy Prom, hosted by comedian and pianist Tim Minchin. The opening weekend included the first Proms performance of Havergal Brian’s gargantuan ‘The Gothic’ Symphony, featuring the combined forces of around 1,000 performers, while a focus on film music saw the return of John Wilson and his renowned Orchestra, as well as the debut of the inimitable Spaghetti Western Orchestra. Other visiting orchestras included the Pittsburgh Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.

For further press information please contact Rebecca Driver or Camilla Thornton 020 7765 4714; rebecca.driver@bbc.co.uk; camilla.thornton@bbc.co.uk

Notes to Editors
The 2011 Proms included 74 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, 12 Chamber Music Proms and Saturday Matinee concerts at Cadogan hall, and five Last Night of the Proms celebrations across the UK. There were a further 80 Proms Plus events – talks, workshops, free performances and activities – offering extra context and insight to audiences on every one of the 59 days of the season.

The 2012 BBC Proms run from Friday 13 July to Saturday 8 September.

Booking information online at bbc.co.uk/proms 

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  • I’d heard a rumour that the budget for the Proms is being cut for 2012….lets hope it’s a rumour otherwise I would say that’s a bit of a downside.

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