Bachtrack stats 2013: women conductors and composers notable by absence

- 9 January 2014

Listings website has, for the fourth time, published an analysis of its data from the last year’s classical performances.


Bachtrack’s infographic presenting 2013’s statistics

It shows a surge in popularity for Britten in his centenary year, Valery Gergiev closely followed by Andris Nelsons as the busiest conductor in the world, and a shocking, if predictable, paucity of women composers and conductors.

‘As the largest classical events finder online, we’re in a unique position to compile these stats &#8210 but please remember that it’s by no means comprehensive,’ says the site.

The statistics are based only on those events added to the Bachtrack database by concert organisers or by Bachtrack staff on their behalf: ‘And we know that there’s a lot that we don’t list’.

General trends are clear, however, and Britten was the fourth most performed composer in the world (18 places higher than in 2012) and the most performed in Britain as the Britten 100 celebrations kicked in.

Verdi and Wagner’s bicentenaries coincided with placements as first- and second-most performed opera composers of the year respectively, followed by Mozart &#8210 who for the first time overtook Beethoven as the composer most likely to appear on a programme note overall.

One-hundred years since its first performance, the Rite of Spring rose 56 places year-on-year to be the fourth most performed concert piece.

Bachtrack illustrates its statistics on women conductors and composers

Bachtrack illustrates its statistics on women conductors and composers

Marin Alsop was the only woman among Bachtrack’s busiest 100 conductors, though her position of 70th underestimates her actual workload. ‘She would have ranked significantly higher if we’d had last season’s events for either Baltimore Symphony or the São Paulo State Symphony’, said the site, emphasising how contingent are the statistics on particular marketing approaches.

But an issue which gained traction and global profile in 2013, thanks to unguarded remarks by Vasily Petrenko and Alsop becoming the first female conductor of the Last Night of the Proms, gains statistical clarity. The site predicts a busy 2014 for JoAnn Faletta, a shaft of light which only emphasises the gloom.

Further, of the 100 most performed composers, none are women. Clara Schumann is highest placed at number 182. Judith Bingham is at 202, while fellow contemporary composers Arvo Pärt, James MacMillan and John Williams are in the top 100.

The Guardian’s Tom Service hailed these latest two findings as ‘a revealing indictment of the gender imbalance of the industry’.

‘There’s still a ludicrously long way to go. These statistics surely should embarrass the classical music world into changing.’

Bachtrack’s full findings published here.

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