Record-breaking season for BBC Proms
92% average attendance for main evening concerts in Royal Albert Hall
5% increase in total attendances
Average of 4,000 people attend each of the 76 Royal Albert Hall Proms
46% increase in average viewing figures for BBC Four
As the 116th 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, announced that it has been a record-breaking season.
The total audience has grown by 5% with 313,000 attendances for the 89 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall in 2010. The total attendance last year, which included six additional Cadogan Hall concerts, was 297,500.
Average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this year was 92%, compared with 87% in 2009. An average of 4,000 people attended each of the 76 Proms in the Royal Albert Hall and 49 concerts sold out completely (compared with 39 in 2009).
There were also more Prommers than ever, with 86,200 compared with 75,850 in 2009, a 14% rise.
Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms, says: "It's extremely pleasing to see that audiences are stronger than ever for the BBC Proms, particularly given the large amount of new music in the broad range of programming. The strong attendance figures are a testament to the adventurous spirit of the Proms audience, their continuing eagerness to embrace such a wide range of music and the great value for money which the Proms offers thanks to the commitment of the BBC."
The festival continues to offer low ticket prices, broad programming, creative use of interactive technology, an extensive learning programme and a rich offering of daily pre-concert and participatory events to help enrich the audience's experience and reach new and young attenders. Sir Henry Wood, first conductor and co-founder 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.
39,600 people bought tickets for the first time, compared with 37,000 in 2009, and more than 7,500 individuals aged under 16 took advantage of the half-price seats for every concert (excluding the Last Night), compared with 5,000 in 2009.
Access to the BBC Proms was also increased by the introduction of a fairer and easier-to-use online booking system, which allowed audiences to buy more than 80,000 tickets on the first day of booking.
Coverage on BBC television aimed to bring the audience closer to both the music and the musicians with the latest camera technology, specially commission films and live expert commentary from soloists, conductors and orchestral players.
For the first time five BBC TV networks broadcast BBC Proms concerts, as BBC Three joined BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC HD.
The broadcasts are expected again to reach more than 12 million people with a 46% growth in average viewing figures for regular Thursday and Friday broadcasts on BBC Four compared with last year. A huge audience is also expected to enjoy the Last Night on BBC Radio 3, BBC Two, BBC One, and via the Red Button. More Big Screens than ever will broadcast the event around the UK.
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. Listening figures for Radio 3 will be available next month.
The BBC Proms remains committed to new music with 31 major new commissions and premieres, including 14 BBC commissions as well as numerous works by 20th- and 21st-century composers.
Highlights of the season included an ambitious opening weekend featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Wagner's The Mastersingers of Nuremberg with Bryn Terfel and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra with Plácido Domingo.
There were two starry musical theatre events dedicated to the music of Stephen Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein, extensive celebrations for anniversary composers Mahler and Schumann, and the return of Doctor Who to the Proms.
Featured artists included Paul Lewis – who played all of Beethoven's piano concertos – Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev and Sir Simon Rattle. Jamie Cullum also made a memorable Proms debut.
Notes to Editors
The 2010 BBC Proms included 76 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, 13 chamber music and matinees concerts at Cadogan Hall, and five Last Night Of The Proms celebrations across the UK. There were a further 68 Proms Plus events – talks, workshops, free performances and activities – offering extra context and insight to audiences on every one of the 58 days of the season.
The Last Night Of The Proms takes place in the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 11 September, with celebrations in London, County Down, Salford, Swansea and Dundee.
Televised highlights of all four Proms in the Park events will be shown as part of BBC One and BBC Two's live coverage of the Last Night Of The Proms. Digital TV viewers can press the red button to select any of the five concerts in the Parks and these concerts will be available from Sunday morning for a week on the BBC Proms website.
Radio 3 broadcasts the concert from the Royal Albert Hall with highlights from the Park during the interval. BBC Radio 2 broadcasts Proms in the Park from Hyde Park, while regional BBC Radio networks broadcast their local events. Coverage is also available on all platforms via the BBC iPlayer for seven days.
September 15, 2010 10:52am ET by Pressparty