Long forgotten, women take their revenge in classical music

(ETX Daily Up) – Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven are the names that come up when anyone is asked to quote classical composers. It is rarer to hear that of Fanny Mendelssohn, Lili Boulanger or Alma Mahler, as if women had never contributed to this artistic practice. A phenomenon of erasure that is increasingly reversed.

This is in any case what emerges from the latest annual report of Bachtrack, a specialized magazine listing classical music events around the world. Some 27,124 concerts, opera performances and dance performances have been listed in order to determine the major trends driving the world of classical music.

Parity in mind. Women composers have often been forgotten over the years, although some were considered real stars during their lifetime. Their works have often been discredited in favor of those of their male counterparts. This can be felt in the Bachtrack survey. And for good reason, Mozart is the most performed composer in concert in 2022, ahead of Beethoven and Bach. The rest of the list is exclusively made up of men, such as Brahms (No. 4), Schubert (No. 5) or even Schumann (No. 6). However, nine women appear in the top 20 of the most performed contemporary composers in concert. Among them, the Russian Sofia Goubaïdoulina (n°7), the English Anna Clyne (n°8) and the Finnish Kaija Saariaho (n°11). Only one musician appeared in this ranking in 2019, and none in 2013. Female conductors have also gained visibility in recent years. They are 12 to appear in the top 100 of Bachtrack, including Elim Chan. This 36-year-old Hong Kong conductor notably distinguished herself by becoming the first woman to win the prestigious Donatella Flick conducting competition in 2014. A great first since the launch of the international prize in 1990. The American Karina Canellakis (n °35), the Frenchwoman Nathalie Stutzmann (n°38) and the Lithuanian Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (n°51) also appear in the ranking of the 100 most programmed conductors in the world. But the first place goes to Andris Nelsons, the musical director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in the United States, and of the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany. If classical music gives more and more prominence to female composers and conductors, it still struggles to highlight female choreographers. This phenomenon is all the more surprising since dance is perceived in the collective imagination as an essentially feminine activity. Canadian Crystal Pite is the only choreographer to have given more than 50 performances in 2022, which explains why she is the only woman named in Bachtrack’s top 20 most scheduled contemporary choreographers. They are 19 more in the top 100.