ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Proms - the most famous institution in British music.

Updated on August 23, 2020

A Great British Tradition

The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall

Yes, its here again that great British number one festival held every year in the Queen's Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, London. With a dazzling array of orchestras, conductors and soloists and the greatest musicians in the world performing for audiences of millions around the world through radio, television and now the internet!

The Proms

The Proms is a heart warming story which started in 1895 and involves the education of the British people and a struggle against financial odds. Intellectuals at that time were in consensus that classical music had cultured ownership and that the ordinary people neither appreciated nor understood its value. However, something gradually started happening with popular taste and it was eventually recognized and then given a platform. The history of the Proms is also a history of modernism Britain.

By 1913 a printed programme read, 'Fortunately the Promenade audience has now been educated to such sound and liberal tastes that it is possible to organize programmes at a very high order...' Patronizing maybe, but the original experiment of the Proms to attract its diverse audience was eventually paying off.

Those who participate in the Proms today represent a diverse audience of musical preferences. What was traditionally known as the 'classical music audience' has become larger groups for diverse musics.


The audiences as a whole at the Proms are not unlike classical audiences but the difference being is that the Prommers are slightly younger and mainly from lower socio-economic categories. At The Royal Albert Hall it feels democratic and you are not aware of the highest paying members of the audience. Of course there are expensive boxes around the perimeter but they are not at the highest points. Everyone has the opportunity to partake in the grandeur.


Today's audiences at the Proms agree that casualness of behaviour and dress are more acceptable. However, there are still those for whom concert behaviour become a topic for arguments about what is acceptable and even challenge applause between movements of symphonies. Thankfully these complaints are often challenged by replies that speak up for the rights of the younger generation!

Proms - Reactive to world events

The Proms have proved that they rightly react and respond to world events in times when things have had to change. The most powerful example of this was in the 2001 season. The Last Night fell on the 15th September that year, four days after 9/11. On the day of the attacks, the Orchestre de Paris substituted the funeral march from Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphany for the 'Prometheus Overture' with which they had originally planned to open their concert. As that week progressed it was recognized that the 'traditional' Last Night would not be appropriate.

This was the second time since 1996 that the end of the season had to be substantially altered. In 1997, after the death of Princess Diana, the plan had been to include the performance of John Adam's 'Short ride in a fast machine' - a fantastic orchestral showpiece, but unfortunately titled given the circumstances of Diana's death. It was replaced by Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Jupiter" from Holst's "Planets" was also played because it contained Diana's hymn tune "I vow to thee my country".

This year 2020, we have the pandemic. With COVID-19 it will not be possible to have a live audience. However, the vision of Sir Henry Wood to “bring the greatest classical music to the widest possible audience” will be available to watch and enjoy.

Proms in The Park

The Proms has been one of the most thorough and consistent attempts to bring together classical music and to make it part of the mainstream of British cultural life. Proms audiences today are not necessarily the same as those who originally took part in this festival, but over the years they have recreated themselves from generation to generation.

”Proms in the Park" has given more people the opportunity to participate. It was because of the perceived inaccessibility of classical music that this began in 1996 as a single concert in Hyde Park alongside the concert in the Royal Albert Hall. Today it is a significant part of the vision for modern day Proms.

Sadly this event has also had to be cancelled this year, but it is now a tradition accessible to all and for all to enjoy through whichever medium is appropriate. No-one has to miss out and really no-one should miss out!

BBC-Radio 2 Live At Home will be broadcast each evening on Saturday 12 and Sunday13.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 cherriquinn


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • cherriquinn profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne

      annart, You are right the Proms does indeed stir the soul. Thankyou for your kind comments and the vote! I'm glad you liked it.

      Hi Ian, nice to hear from you again. I,m so looking forward to this year. The "decking" out is great to see! Thanks for the comments and the sentiments. Linda.

    • alian346 profile image


      9 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      This was one of the movements that heralded huge changes in our society at the time. It's still great - I still watch 'The last Night' - even though I know exactly what's going to happen after all these years. It's fascinating to see how the soloists deck themselves out! How I would love to be able to sing or play an instrument like that!!

      Music is indeed the food of the soul!


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      9 years ago from SW England

      What a great hub. I didn't know all its interesting history. I love the Last Night; it makes me feel proud and patriotic and stirs the soul. So good to have something still traditional but which, as you say, moves with the times too. Voted up and interesting - I wish there was a category for 'brilliant' or 'fascinating'! Off to look at your other hubs.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)