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3 October 2014
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In this programme

The Royal Albert Hall, courtesy of Marcus GinnsIn his last year as Director of the BBC Proms, Nicholas Kenyon announced his final Proms season on 25th April as the climax to a 3-day conference on the Proms and British Music Life. The conference was the first such collaboration between the British Library, Kings College London, and the BBC and included the launch of a new Proms history, published by Thames and Hudson. Delegates at the conference also had the chance to see a new exhibition open to the public at the British Library to mark the 80th anniversary of the BBC taking over the running of the Proms in 1927.

Henry WoodPetroc Trelawny attended the conference to hear a diversity of academics present papers charting the Proms all the way from its 1895 beginnings in the hands of Henry Wood at the Queen's Hall, to the present day multi-media extravaganza at the Royal Albert Hall. Talks ranged from the impact of the BBC take-over in 1927 to the Proms in wartime, the indelible mark left by Sir Malcolm Sergeant, the invented tradition of the Last Night and the sense of ownership which Prommers have of what they feel is their festival.

Petroc Trelawny with Lord Briggs
Petroc caught up with several of the speakers to find out about their particular take on the remarkable history of the Proms. Professor David Cannadine explains his categorisation of 'the three phases of the Last Night'; Ivan Hewett presents his studies of Proms audiences; Lord Briggs and Paddy Scannell consider the relationship between the BBC and the Proms, and Nicholas Kenyon reflects on his twelve seasons as Director. Kenyon is also joined by Richard Witts and Annette Moreau to discuss the legacy and future of the Proms and the vexed question of scheduling new music and developing his own populist initiative of Proms in the Park.

The Last Night of the PromsThe Proms: A New History. Ed. Jenny Doctor & David Wright with Consultant Editor, Nicholas Kenyon. Pub. Thames & Hudson. H.b. £24.95.

The British Library exhibition - Celebrating the Proms: From Henry Wood to Hyde Park, is in the Folio Society Gallery until the 8th July 2007.

The BBC Proms 2007 season runs from 13th July - 8th September and all concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

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