Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Keeping Track 2018-19

I will update this post as orchestras and opera companies announce their seasons.

New Music Festivals

Alex Ross tweeted this site, which should embarrass the crap out of several of the festivals listed. Less than 1/3 music composed women? You're not paying attention to what's going on around you.

  1. London Symphony Orchestra: approximately 118 works, 117 by men, 1 (one) by a woman. Reported on Twitter; not sure which season the report is for. 
  2. Orpheus Chamber Ensemble: 19 works, an All-Male Season.
  3. Houston Symphony, no works by women (total number of works not yet determined)
  4. Detroit Symphony Orchestra: works by 5 women among 12 living composers (total number of works not yet determined)
  5. Lafayette Symphony, Indiana: works by 2 women
  6. Philadelphia Orchestra: an All-Male Season. 5 works by 4 living men, 3 white, one black; no works by women (and a very dull season altogether).  Two women conduct the orchestra, Nathalie Stutzmann and Emmanuelle Haim.
  7. Chicago Symphony Orchestra: an All-Male Season. No works by women (and a very dull season altogether; have not counted works by the living yet).
  8. Pittsburgh SO: an All-Male Season.
  9. Los Angeles Philharmonic: 22 female composers (some white, some women of color); 27 composers of color (some male, some female). Enormous number of commissions and new works. Every other orchestra in the country should be embarrassed by the riches on the display here and the paucity of their own commitment to music of our time written by a diverse group of composers.
  10. Pacific Symphony: an All-Male Season.
  11. Seattle Symphony: works by 9 (nine) living women on the season, including the premiere of Caroline Shaw's piano concerto! Nice selection of works by living men as well, and a focus on French music that I like. I believe they've got an African American soloists and African American conductor on the season.

Opera Companies
  1. San Francisco Opera: 9 operas, all by men
  2. Houston Grand Opera: 6 operas, all by men
  3. Seattle Opera: 5 operas, all by men
  4. Los Angeles Opera: 9 operas, 8 by men, 1 by two women
  5. Canadian Opera Company: 6 operas, all by men
  6. Santa Fe Opera: 5 operas, all by men
  7. Montreal Opera, 5 operas, 1 by a woman (Svadba (Wedding), which played in SF in 2016)
  8. Washington National Opera: 5 MainStage operas, all by men. Three women conduct: Nicole Paiement (Silent Night, Puts); Keri-Lynn Wilson (Faust; let's hope she doesn't fall asleep at the podium); Speranza Scappucci (Tosca). Alternate stages has 2 operas, both by women: Jeanine Tesori's The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me and Kamala Sankaram's Taking Up Serpents, which is conducted by Lidya Yankovskaya.
  9. Metropolitan Opera, All-Male Season of 27 operas (29 if you count Trittico as 3 rather than 1)


Sheree Clement said...

I love this! Please keep counting and tweeting.

Lisa Hirsch said...


There's going to be a spreadsheet, too. Several of us are organizing one.

Unknown said...

Philadelphia Orchestra has two women conductors (Haim and Stutzmann) but no women composers. One step forward, two steps back.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I did see that when I meandered through the Philly prospectus at about 5:45 am this morning; forgot to record them along with the composer situation. thank you for the reminder!

Henry Holland said...

The Los Angeles Philharmonic (hello, not "LA Phil" marketing people) season is deceptive. Yes, there are a good number of women and non-Anglo composers and new commissions, but they are almost all small pieces that are being done in the Green Umbrella and other "side" series. The "regular" Disney Hall series aren't anything you wouldn't encounter at any other big orchestra:

* Zubin Mehta doing a *shudder* Brahms *shudder* cycle
* Celebrating Hack Plagiarist film composer John Williams With Three Concerts!!!!!!!!
* Mahler, Mahler and more Mahler
* Beethoven, Beethoven and more Beethoven
* Salonen conducts Stravinsky (like he did his whole time here)
* The awful Lang Lang doing a Beethoven piano concerto cycle
* John Adams and Philip Glass, how cutting edge! /sarcasm

Those concerts are stuffed with the usual Mozart overtures, Haydn symphonies and so on. Yes, Susanna Malkki is dong the Turangalila Symphony paired with the US premiere of Kaija Saariaho's harp concerto, but yet again, those concerts are the exception.

Plus, whoever redesigned the LAP website should never work in that field again. What used to be a straightforward concert listings page that had the date of the concert, what was being played and who was playing in blocks that you could scroll down is now a mess which requires you click on each concert for details and a click-back to get to the listings again.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for keeping track of all of this! What an incredible service you have provided for us all!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, Laura, though I think I have fallen behind...

Henry, there are a bunch of very big premieres on the main orchestral series, more than you'd get in a typical season. Because the GU programs are very much part of the orchestra's identity, I accept them as part of the season.

Yeah, Mehta & Brahms, Dudamel & Beethoven, not so interesting.

Agree about the web site, about which there is general consternation. (Alex Ross has been complaining about it, for example.)

Unknown said...

In case you haven't seen it, I thought Peter Dobrin's column in today's Inquirer would be of interest to you.

Russell said...

Phoenix Symphony (my hometown group) just announced next season. On 14 classical concerts, with 37 works, there are 27 composers of whom 8 are living, including 1 woman (Anna Clyne). The number of living women is actually down from the current season (2, Nina Young and Tina Tallon). For good measure, one of next season's dead composers is a woman as well (Florence Price, her Symphony no.1).