For the second year running, UK record label Drama Musica and its partner project DONNE, Women in Music 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 – last year only 2.3% of the pieces were written by women – 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. Last year, only 5.3% 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?
Soprano Gabriella Di Lacciofounder and curator of DONNE, Women in Music, says:
It is very difficult to find excuses for not having works by women composers present in every concert. There are thousands of music scores now widely available and the quality of the music is unquestionable. As artists, I truly believe we should always try to cultivate curiosity in our audiences, to open their eyes to a much richer and diverse musical world. It is possible and it is an incredibly enriching artistic experience for everyone. Plus, we will be supporting diverse role models for future generations. What could be better than that? And to quote composer Nicola LeFanu, commenting on last year’s results: “What’s wrong with 50:50 for a living?”