How about Promming this summer? Yes wait is over BBC Proms are celebrating 115th year of the Proms, the World's Greatest Classical Music Festival for 8 weeks at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, London. BBC Proms broke all records last year with more than 100 concerts and 170 live events. It's an experience of a lifetime, where you get to see the performance of the most spectacular and greatest orchestral artists from different countries performing live everyday. BBC Proms kept its original aim quoted by Sir Henry Wood
"To present the widest possible range of music, performed to the highest standards to large audiences".
Going back to the history, BBC Proms was established by Sir Henry Wood in 1895 at Queen's Hall in London, where they adapted an informal promenade arrangement with a nominal ticket prices so that they reach vast audience with wide range of music. In addition to that eating, drinking and smoking were also allowed.
The word Proms comes from Promenade Concerts, informal and inexpensive and where prommers can buy ticket for an original cost of Shilling (5p), today it costs only £8.00. Years passed and Wood continued to give its audience a mixture of enterprising and adventurous new works of orchestral artists. A tradition of Wagner Night on Mondays and Beethoven Night on Fridays was introduced. Wood was keen in promoting young talents and by 1920's leading composers like Richard Strauss, Debussy, Rakhmaninov, Ravel and Vaughan Williams was introduced.
However, in 1915, Proms went through financial problems, when publishers Chappell & Co took over and renamed it as New Queen's Hall Orchestra. Later in 1927 when BBC was established, Chappell's withdrew their financial support and BBC took over the Proms and for 3 years, concerts were performed under the name of 'Sir Henry Wood and his Symphony Orchestra' until the BBC renamed it to BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1930.
But when Britain declared war on Germany BBC withdrew its support and Wood found a private sponsorship to continue the Proms concerts. For 1940 and 1941 seasons the Proms were renamed as London Symphony Orchestra. Unfortunately due to air raids the Queen's Hall got destroyed on 10 May 1941.
This is how The Royal Albert Hall, came into use for the concert performances. That year BBC returned to sponsor Proms once again. Wood continued to work with the proms until he died in 1944.
After the war Malcolm Sargent became the chief conductor of the Proms. By 1947 Viennese evenings became more fashionable and popular compared to the traditional Wagner Nights. In 1950's there was a remarkable increase in the number of seasons with renowned artists like Charles Groves, Colin Davis, Norman Del Mar, Charles Mackerras.
In 1959, the identity of proms started to change with the arrival of William Glock as BBC Controller. Now in 1966 Proms had changed from a small successful venture into a big and popular International Festival, with international figures like Georg Solti, Leopold Stokowski and Carlo Maria Giulini.
By 1970's Proms featured new series of Late Night concerts and Pre- Prom Talks, Opera performances, non-western cultural music, music concerts devised specially for children.
In 1994 proms celebrated its 100th season and now festival includes more than 70 concerts. From 1996 to 2008 proms has launched series of new events like Proms in the Park, Proms Chamber music, & Proms Lecture, the first Prom Recital, the Violins, the Voice, Brass Day, Folk day and Dr Who which became a major success. Last year 2009 proms introduced more events like Proms Literary Festival, Talks, Films, Prom Plus, Composer Portraits, Family Orchestra and Family Music Intro.
Watch them perform live in London at the same time if you happen to miss the festival on BBC Television, BBC Radio 3, BBC iPlayer and many more.
Since 1985 till now proms has become the World's Greatest Classical Music Festival.