It’s 2022 and almost nine in ten compositions played by orchestras around the world are written by white men.
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.
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.
“Instead of relying on the feelings that things are getting better for women, let’s look at the data and commit to faster change today. ”Gabriella Di Laccio
POP & FILM INDUSTRY
Equality & Diversity in Concert Halls | 2020-2021
100 orchestras worldwide
This latest research by Donne – Women in Music has been prepared to get a better understanding of how classical music is responding to the current and very important issue of equality and diversity in concert’s repertoire worldwide. It builds on previous research carried out in and The new results presented here were determined by in-depth analysis of composers’ works scheduled for the 2020-2021 season in 100 orchestras from 27 countries.
The results show that only 11.45% of the scheduled concerts worldwide included compositions by women. 88.55% included solely compositions written by men.
There has been a small improvement on the overall inclusion of works by women in concerts compared with previous years. But, when we look closely at the numbers, it is a different matter.
Only 747 out of the 14,747 compositions scheduled by the 100 orchestras throughout the 2020-2021 season, were composed by women – a total of 5%.
One alarming fact is that only 1.11% of pieces were composed by Black & Asian women and only 2.43% by Black & Asian men.
Whilst the improvement on previous years are welcome, the rate of change is slow.