Gender Stats: Gramophone Website

I had a look at the music website Gramophone for gender stats. This result is the starkest yet. On the Composers page there are 100 composers listed, 0 female composers.

On the composer search tab I searched for a few of the arguably more well known female composers: Hildegard von Bingen, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Amy Beach and Ethel Smyth. None of them come up.

So 100 composers – 0 women.

Gender stats: ABRSM Flute Syllabus 2018/21

I spoke to a flute teacher in her 30’s today who knew the name of just 1 female composer: Cecile Chaminade. I took a deeper look into this to see what is being taught to the young people of today. Here’s what I found in the ABRSM Flute Syllabus.

Grade 1: 3/30 pieces – 10% by female composers.

Grade 2: 2/30 pieces – 6.6% by female composers.

Grade 3: 4/30 pieces – 13.3% by female composers.

Grade 4: 2/30 pieces – 6.6% by female composers.

Grade 5: 4/30 pieces – 13.3% by female composers.

Grade 6: 0/30 pieces – 0% by female composers.

Grade 7: 1/30 pieces – 3.3% by female composers.

Grade 8: 2/30 pieces – 6.6% by female composers.

Total: 18/240 pieces – 7.5% of total pieces by female composers.

This is the message we are sending young people of today.

You can view the syllabus here.

Gender stats: London Philharmonic Orchestra

LPO are one of the resident orchestras at the Southbank Centre.

They are playing 32 concerts in the 2018/2019 season at the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank.

2 out of 32 concerts feature 1 woman composer each.

2/32 concerts feature a woman composer, that is 6.25%. The proportion of playing time for women composers is smaller still.

The 1st concert is an evening of contemporary work – Helen Grimes is 1 woman amongst 5 composers. 1/5, that’s maybe 20% of the evening.

The 2nd concert is Alice Mary Smith’s Andante for Clarinet which is 7 minutes long. 7 minutes out of a 90 minute concert, that is 7.7% of the concert.

We’re looking at less than 1% of total performance time devoted to women composers.


Gender stats: National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

This coming 2019 season NYO are playing 9 pieces. None of them are by a woman composer.

In 2018 NYO played 13 pieces, 0 by women.

In 2017 NYO played 9 pieces, 0 by women.

In 2016 9 pieces including 1 new commission by a woman composer.

So 4 years, 40 pieces, 1 woman composer.

This is the message we are sending young people of today?!

Gender stats: English Symphony Orchestra

English Symphony Orchestra tweeted that they support living composers. I checked out their gender stats to see if they support women composers.

13 concerts this season, 2 of which have 1 woman composer in them, 1 has Kapralova and 1 has Bacewic.

2/13 concerts with 1 woman composer, that is 15.3 % of concerts featuring a woman composer.

Also coincidentally the 2 concerts featuring a woman composer are in the Venus Unwrapped series at Kings Place.