The new “2022 Orchestra Repertoire Report” says that over the last several years there’s been an increase in how often American orchestras perform works by composers of color, women composers, and living composers. The report also examined programming trends dating back from 2015 to the current season.
The study was produced by SUNY Fredonia’s Institute for Composer Diversity, in partnership with the League of American Orchestras, with support from the Sphinx Organization’s Venture Fund. Data for the study was gathered from season announcements and the websites of medium and larger budget orchestras.
Key findings show:
- Works by underrepresented composers (composers of color and women composers) living and deceased rose by 400%, increasing overall from 4.5% in 2015 to 22.5% in 2022
- Works by living composers almost doubled, increasing overall from 11.7% to 21.8%
- Works by women composers of color increased by 1425%, from 0.4% in 2015 to 6.1% in 2022
- Works by living women composers of color increased by 1050%, from 0.4% in 2015 to 4.6% in 2022
- Changes in diverse programming occurred across all measured orchestra budget groups and geographic regions.
- Composers of color and women composers with the most programmed performances in the 2021-2022 season include Lili Boulanger; Anna Clyne; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; Duke Ellington; Gabriela Lena Frank; Jesse Montgomery; Florence Price; Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges; and William Grant Still, among others.
- Repertoire by deceased white males still comprised over two thirds of the works programmed in 2021-22.
The League’s partnership with the Institute for Composer Diversity will continue into the 2022-2023 season expanding to include smaller budget orchestras. Project organizers say they plan to examine orchestra programming trends extending back to 2010.