Entertainment & Arts

BBC launches online Proms archive

BBC Proms
London's Royal Albert Hall plays host to the Proms every year

The BBC has launched a Proms archive, listing all performances, composers, works, soloists, conductors and ensembles in its 115-year history.

Details of all the 7,168 concerts which have taken place since 1895 can be searched in the online database.

It has taken two years to compile and cross-check the database using old Proms programmes.

Roger Wright, director BBC Proms, said it was a "fascinating" snapshot of musical trends over the last century.

The team who worked on the database faced several challenges while compiling the record.

There was 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.

Programme listings also had to be cross-checked with what actually happened at the concerts, as works and artists were often added or changed at the last minute.

Another challenge was identifying pieces of music by now-forgotten composers and working out who actually performed them.

Mr Wright said: "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."

The BBC Proms 2010 opens at the Royal Albert Hall on 16 July.

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