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The Proms remain the most democratic concert series in Britain. But a lack of new music means that Prom audiences are ageing and in decline—if the Proms don't adapt, they may die

By Martin Kettle   July 2007

Can the Proms survive?

Over the decades, the Proms have become one of the great British cultural rituals. And here they come again—72 classical music concerts at the Albert Hall over eight weeks, starting on 13th July, all broadcast on the BBC, plus the assorted spinoff series of chamber concerts, matinees, talks and open-air events. It was ever thus—and probably always will be.

Except that it wasn’t ever thus at all. In the 40 years I’ve been attending, much has changed—and all for the better—in terms of programming, repertoire and performance quality. The earliest Proms of the late Victorian…

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