For the second year running, we have examined the programmes presented by 15 major orchestras worldwide in their 2019-2020 season to identify the presence of women composers in concerts.

Results show that classical music is still a man’s world:

Only 3.6% of the total pieces to be performed this season were composed by women. Although there has been an increase – see last years' results - we are still quite far from reaching equality.

Perhaps more worrying, is the fact that only 8.2% of the concerts included at least 1 piece by a woman. Progress continues to be slow.

At this rate we will have to wait until around 2051 to have at least one piece by a woman composer in all concerts.

With all the resources we have at the present time to access so many works by women composers that deserve to be known by the public, is this still really acceptable?

Full results:

  • Collectively, the 15 orchestras will perform more than 1,500 concerts worldwide;

  • ONLY 123 of ALL concerts will include at least ONE piece by a woman composer; 

  • At these concerts, 3997 MUSICAL WORKS will be performed;

  • Only 142 were written by women composers;

  • 3855 were written by MALE composers;

Out of 1505 concerts worldwide, ONLY 123 will include works by women composers.

Further details on the research:

  • The orchestras included are: Royal Concertgebouw, Berliner Philarmoniker, Vienna Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,Cleveland Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and São Paulo Symphony Orchestra;
  • The programs and repertoire included are from the 2019-2020 season as listed on each orchestra website and literature prior to the start of the season;
  • We took into consideration mainly the official concerts of each season. Gala concerts, touring and family concerts were only included when the information provided included a full programme of the pieces that will be performed;
  • Chamber music concerts were only included if they were performed by members of the orchestra;
  • To explore this scenario, we gathered information from the 2019-2020 seasons that have been programmed by 15 major orchestras worldwide. The orchestras were selected taking into consideration the Gramophone Magazine list, chosen by a panel of leading music critics.


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