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Good news for gender-equality in music - and for 20th century music too

Composer Anna Clyne was 8th on the list
Composer Anna Clyne was 8th on the list

Encouraging news about gender equality in classical music comes this week from Bachtrack's newly released report Classical Music in 2022.

Analysing data from 27,124 musical performances worldwide, the report highlights a number of interesting trends.

Most encouraging is the rising status of living female classical composers, with no less than nine of the world’s 20 most-performed living composers now being women (a dramatic rise since 2013, when there were none), with Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina topping the list (at #7 overall).

Twelve women also make the list of top 100 conductors worldwide (again up massively since 2013, when the pioneering Marin Alsop was the only female conductor to make the list), with Hong Kong-born maestro (or possibly maestra) Elim Chan top of the pile at #29 overall.

Conductors are also getting younger, with the average age of the top 100 falling from 61 years old in 2010 to just 46 in 2022.

The report also highlights the rising popularity of 20th-century music, with 19 works composed post-1918 making the top 100 most-performed pieces. Ravel and Richard Strauss both make the list of the 10 most-performed composers (with Mahler not far behind), displacing old favourites Mendelssohn and Haydn.

Ravel, in particular, had a stellar year. Amazingly, according to Bachtrack stats his orchestral work La Valse was the world’s most performed piece of classical music in 2022, while his Piano Concerto in G was also the most-performed piano concerto, eclipsing concerto staples by Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Brahms.

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