The BBC Proms today launches an online Proms Archive listing all performances, composers, works, soloists, conductors and ensembles in its 115-year history.
Music-lovers will be able to search for the details of any one of the 7,168 concerts which have taken place since 1895 by composer, work, soloist, conductor, ensemble or date at bbc.co.uk/proms/archive. They can also create Top 40 lists of Proms performances by composer, ensemble or person (from altos to zheng players) with the facility to narrow or widen searches by date.
Roger Wright, Director BBC Proms says:
“To have the entire database of concerts available reveals much about the Proms itself, but also about the history of classical music in the UK over the past 115 years. It’s fascinating to see developments in musical trends and the careers and popularity of particular artists, composers and music. We’re delighted to make this amazing resource available to the public and hope it will be invaluable to music-lovers, musicians, academics and fun for anyone who is interested in classical music.”
A few interesting revelations from the Proms Archive:
There has been a huge effort to standardise spellings and how particular works are listed, and to recognise changes in the titles of works and the names of ensembles over the years. A particular challenge has been cross-check programme listings with what actually happened at the concerts, as works and artists are often added or changed at the last minute. Another challenge has been identifying pieces of music by now-forgotten composers, and working out who actually performed them when concerts were comprised of a great variety of material, including popular songs of the day.
This is the first live version of the Proms Archive online and the BBC Proms is keen to hear from members of the public about anything inaccurate or anomalous and is inviting corrections and feedback by email to [email protected]
The BBC Proms is also keen to hear about memories of Proms concerts which might be triggered by seeing the database and is inviting comments and reminiscences at bbc.co.uk/proms/share.