NEWS | 05 OCTOBER 2022
Progress in gender equality is slow in the world of classical music and even slower when it comes to diversity, according to the latest research carried out by Donne – Women in Music on composers’ works scheduled for the 2021–2022 season by 111 orchestras across 31 countries. #DonneReport2022
Of the 20,400 compositions lined up, 87.7% were written by white men, and only 7.7% by women, most of them white (5.5%). Looking a bit closer, only:
– 1.02% of the works were written by Black women;
– 0.66% of the works were written by Asian women;
– 0.31% of the works were written by Mixed Heritage women;
– 0.05% of the works were written by Middle Eastern women;
– 0.09% of the works were written by Indigenous women composers.
These numbers represent a marginal improvement over last year, when Donne’s report from the 2020-2021 season found that 5.0% of works were written by women. Actually, the dominance of white male is still so overwhelming that almost one third (27.5%) of all pieces scheduled globally for the 2021-2022 season were by 10 white, historical and well-known European men. Their pieces have been performed nearly four times more than all women combined.
Overall data as well as individual charts for each of the 111 orchestras are available on the report.
Classical music is part of our daily lives, not only in concert halls but in theatre productions, film soundtracks, gaming, commercial advertising, and online media and yet, it is shockingly lacking equality as well as diversity.
People who are Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage and indigenous to the global south have been erroneously referred to as “ethnic minorities” but they represent around 80% of the world’s population, and they are, in fact, global majority. However, only 2.1% of the scheduled works for the 2021/2022 season were written by global majority women composers and 4.5% of the works by global majority men composers.
Tchaikovsky – in the top three most performed composers, after Beethoven and Mozart – was played roughly as often as all Black composers combined.
“The prestige and reputation of these renowned orchestras and their sponsors put them in a privileged position where they could be an example for others and act as a game changer when it comes to creating real impact. Yet, when you look at the data, it is very clear that the industry is missing an opportunity to create an inspirational environment that is more inclusive and diverse, and that gives everyone an opportunity to be seen and heard,”
She adds: “The only thing that separates women and all global majority people from a Grammy, an Ivor’s, a job, a CD of the year, a movie credit, an Oscar, etc… is opportunity. These can never be hers and theirs if the industry doesn’t allow the audiences to have familiarity with their music on the radio, in live concerts, in all the recordings that are currently been planned by record labels.”
ABOUT DONNE, WOMEN IN MUSIC
Donne, Women in Music is a charitable foundation that celebrates, amplifies and promotes women in music. We are here to connect and empower anyone who identifies as a woman in order to create a more equitable music industry. UK Registered Charity No. 1191758
OUR MISSION: We are dedicated to achieving gender equality in the music industry.
OUR VISION: A world of musical equality where gender is irrelevant, where women are seen, heard and appreciated for their talent, creating a legacy of inspiration for future generations.
OUR FOUNDER: Listed as one of the BBC’s 100 most inspirational and influential women in the world, multi award-winning soprano Gabriella Di Laccio is the inspirational driving force behind the Donne Foundation, spearheading the drive to equality for women in music globally.
WHAT WE DO
The Donne Foundation is an international organisation leading in insights and evidence, making valuable resources freely available to all, increasing access, supporting under- represented communities and connecting people worldwide. Our free multimedia resources are used by organisations, educators and performers all over the world.
THE BIG LIST of women composers, a database with over 5,000 names, is a key feature on our website allowing users to search for women composers along with several different data points including period, musical genre, location and nationality. It is one of the most comprehensive online databases dedicated to women composers globally, which will continue to grow as more talent is fostered and unearthed.