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DSO Apparently NOT One of the World's Busiest Orchestras

by Jerome Weeks 25 Jan 2011 9:42 AM

Break it down: what composer is performed by symphonies more than any other? Which internationally known music director conducts more concerts than any other? Bachtrack has the stats for 2010.


The website Bachtrack has posted its concert and opera tables for 2010, listing which composers are performed more often in the world and the USA, which are the busiest conductors, etc. No surprises in many cases: Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, for example, lead the charts for most-performed composers, while La Boheme and The Marriage of Figaro are the most performed operas.

Nonetheless, there are interesting and revealing bits amid the familiar names. For one thing, San Francisco, Chicago and New York are the busiest orchestras — in the United States AND the world. The Dallas  Symphony doesn’t make it to the top 10 in America, although the Houston Symphony does (and Hans Graf, its conductor, is the fifth busiest in the US, behind names like James Levine and Michael Tilson Thomas). Of course, the charts are limited to Bachtrack’s database, so one wonders how Jaap van Zweden ranked — because the lowest American listed among the top 10, Cincinnati’s Paavo Jarvi, led only 28 performances last year.

But here’s one of the more encouraging trends: Americans tend to listen to modern music significantly more than our worldwide counterparts. Music from the 20th and 21st century makes up 43 percent of our performed repertory, while they account for only 35 percent in the world at large. And in the most-performed composer and most-works-by-a-composer-performed lists, we listen to Stravinsky, Ravel and Shostakovich much more than anyone else. Those three composers don’t even appear in the worldwide lists.