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A new report from the Institute for Composer Diversity, produced in partnership with the League of American Orchestras, finds significant increases in works by women composers and composers of color being performed by American orchestras.

The 2022 Orchestra Repertoire Report examines the programming of women composers, composers of color, and living composers by U.S. orchestras this season as well as longitudinal programming trends from 2015 through the current 2021-22 season. The data was gathered in real time, directly from season announcements and the websites of medium and larger budget orchestras (groups 1-5).

Key findings include:

  • Works by women composers and composers of color (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.
  • Women composers and composers of color with the most programmed performances in the 2021-2022 season include Lili Boulanger; Anna Clyne; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; Duke Ellington; Gabriela Lena Frank; Jessie Montgomery; Florence Price; Joseph Bologne, chevalier de Saint-Georges; and William Grant Still, among others

The League will offer a number of opportunities to help our member orchestras absorb the findings, beginning with We Are What We Play: Orchestral Repertoire in 2022 and Beyond, a session taking place in-person on Thursday, June 2, 2022 as part of the League’s National Conference in Los Angeles, CA. That session will be recorded for future access by the full field and a press announcement will be issued in the coming weeks.

Our new partnership with the Institute for Composer Diversity continues in the 2022-2023 season with an expansion in the scope to include smaller budget orchestras, and to create a longer trend line extending back to 2010. 

The 2022 Orchestra Repertoire Report was produced by the Institute for Composer Diversity at the State University of New York at Fredonia in partnership with the League of American Orchestras, and through generous support from the Sphinx Organization’s Venture Fund. The report was written by Dr. Rob Deemer, ICD Director and Professor, State University of New York at Fredonia, and Dr. Cory Meals, ICD Head of Data Analysis and Associate Professor, University of Houston, with assistance from Humay Gasimzadeh, Ariel Magno da Costa, and Jessica Sisti.

Questions?

Please contact knowledge@americanorchestras.org.

The League’s partnership with the Institute for Composer Diversity on the 2022 Orchestra Repertoire Report is supported by generous grants from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Mellon Foundation.

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