We got a lot of interest last January when we published our Concert and Opera League Tables for 2010, so we thought we'd do it again for 2011. It's fascinating to see how a great deal is constant from year to year, with the biggest visible differences due to which composers have anniversaries. I'm not at all sure what will happen this year, where there are few anniversaries of major significance (Debussy, Delius, Cage and John Ireland fans may now throw rotten eggs at me, but in all honesty, none of these figure on most people's top 10 lists).
I haven't split out the US numbers this year: they didn't show anything particularly interesting that wasn't covered in 2010.
The usual caveats for statisticians: clearly, our database only includes a proportion of the concerts performed across the globe. It's a large sample, although not a random one: it's skewed towards the events put on by the largest organisations and those who have chosen, for whatever the reason, to work with us. I have truly no idea how those biases might play out: they make these stats fairly useless for serious research, but they don't stop them being fun to read (I think). Anyway, here are the sample sizes this year:
Opera performances: 5,547
Composers with most concerts
Here are the composers who featured in the greatest number of concerts during the year: a composer gets an entry if at least one work was performed in a given concert.
Comparing this to last year, the anniversary effect is evident. Chopin and Schumann (who both had anniversaries in 2010) drop out of the top ten, to be replaced by Liszt, who had an anniversary in 2011, and Handel (who was close to the top ten last year anyway). Otherwise, the top ten list is identical - it will be interesting to see if Mahler drops out next year (he had anniversaries both in 2010 and 2011, but one senses that his popularity has really grown over this period). Looking at our concert finder for 2012, I can see that Debussy (who has an anniversary this year) is in the top ten as things stand.
By the way, 6,839 concerts feature at least one of the top ten composers - 57% of the total.
Composers with the most works performed
This gives a sense of how prolific a composer was - that is, how much of his output is performed. A composer gets an entry for each of his works that was performed at least once in 2011.
Worldwide, the list is identical to last year (bar slight re-ordering), except that Richard Strauss makes way for the anniversary effect of Liszt; Chopin and Schumann are lower in the list than they were, but not knocked out.
The US numbers are more varied (although the top three remain the same): Chopin, Shostakovich and Stravinsky make way for Handel, Mendelssohn and Ravel.
Most performed works
|1||Messiah (Handel)||121||Messiah (Handel)||125|
|2||Symphony no. 4 (Bruckner)||88||Symphony no. 7 (Beethoven)||101|
|3||Symphony no. 7 (Beethoven)||88||Symphony no. 1 "Titan" (Mahler)||93|
|4||Piano Concerto no. 1 (Liszt)||87||Piano Concerto no. 2 (Chopin)||82|
|5||Symphony no. 5 (Beethoven)||85||Symphony no. 6 "Pastoral" (Beethoven)||84|
|6||Symphony no. 3 "Eroica" (Beethoven)||80||Piano Concerto no. 1 (Chopin)||82|
|7||Symphony no. 7 (Bruckner)||79||Piano Concerto no. 4 (Beethoven)||78|
|8||Violin Concerto (Tchaikovsky)||77||Symphony no. 5 (Beethoven)||77|
|9||Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky)||75||Piano Concerto no. 5 "Emperor" (Beethoven)||75|
|10||Symphony no. 1 (Brahms)||70||Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz)||75|
In this table, it's the overall shape that proves to be constant rather than the precise details of each work: the Christmas standard of Messiah at the top, followed by the core repertoire symphonies interspersed with a few of the most popular concerti, and one major piece of programme music: Symphonie Fantastique last year, Pictures at an Exhibition this year (which, by the way, is one of my very favourite pieces of music from an early age, so I'm glad to see it).
I suspect the ratings from the two Bruckner symphonies are exalted by the diligence of the wonderful people at the Bruckner society in making sure that their performances are all in our database!
Concerts and performances by period of music
A concert features in the "Concerts" column if it includes at least one work from that period. A work features in the "Works" column if it is performed in at least one concert. There are serious health warnings over the fine print of which composer has been put into which category: for example, Rachmaninov is labelled "20th/21st century", which is, after all, when he wrote most of his music, but is generally considered Romantic in style, and Beethoven is labelled "Romantic" although music textbooks seem to be split as to whether he's Romantic or Classical. So the appellation "20th/21st century" covers everything from Rachmaninov to Rodrigo to Stockhausen. Treat the data with care!
An interesting snippet here is that although the romantic and classical repertoire accounts for a huge number of concerts, this is on the basis of a relatively small number of different works: in other words, the same works get played again and again. Contrast this to the 20th/21st century where there are almost as many different works as there are concerts, and the Early music period where there are far more.
Health warnings: (1) these numbers are sensitive to how much detail gets put in about works into our database: small changes in this can skew the numbers. (2) The numbers of works for 2010 look wrong to me, so I've deleted them.
Reminder: this excludes opera and ballet performances.
|1||San Francisco Symphony||157||San Francisco Symphony||144|
|2||Chicago Symphony||133||Chicago Symphony||137|
|3||Boston Symphony||131||New York Philharmonic||127|
|4||Berliner Philharmoniker||131||O S di Milano Giuseppe Verdi||121|
|5||Los Angeles Philharmonic||124||Berliner Philharmoniker||114|
|6||New York Philharmonic||119||Los Angeles Philharmonic||118|
|8||Philadelphia Orchestra||111||Vienna Philharmonic||111|
|9||Cleveland Orchestra||104||Bournemouth Symphony||107|
|10||Bournemouth Symphony||95||Philadelphia Orchestra||99|
Given the comments we got last year, I have to take pains to point out that this table measures only the concerts listed on our site. If orchestras' marketing departments don't list all their concerts, they don't get included here, and the effect can be significant.
Busiest concert conductors and their ages
Again, this excludes opera and ballet. The conductor's age at his 2011 birthday is shown in brackets.
|1||Gustavo Dudamel (30)||82||Valery Gergiev (57)||88|
|2||Iván Fischer (60)||74||Michael Tilson Thomas (66)||87|
|3||Sir Simon Rattle (56)||70||Mariss Jansons (67)||79|
|4||Paavo Järvi (49)||69||Iván Fischer (59)||68|
|5||Charles Dutoit (75)||68||Herbert Blomstedt (83)||67|
|6||Michael Tilson Thomas (67)||65||Charles Dutoit (74)||60|
|7||Richard Tognetti (46)||64||Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (77)||58|
|8||Alan Gilbert (44)||57||Paavo Järvi (48)||56|
|9||Andris Nelsons (33)||55||Gustavo Dudamel (29)||56|
|10||Bernard Haitink (82)||55||Sir Simon Rattle (55)||56|
Richard Tognetti, Alan Gilbert and Andris Nelsons make the top ten, displacing Valery Gergiev, Herbert Blomstedt and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. All of these three are under fifty, bringing the average age down from 62 to 54.
What bothers me is that I'm sure I saw a news item saying that Haitink was retiring, or at least going for a more relaxed schedule than he used to. Either I was imagining it all, or Haitink has a very strange idea of what "more relaxed" means.
Composers with most opera performances
I haven't shown the USA-only numbers here, because the sample size seemed to be a bit too small: a single big run is enough to skew the numbers.
My only surprise last year was that Handel didn't make the top ten - that's duly changed this year, at the expense of Britten. Otherwise, virtually no changes and no surprises.
Most performed operas
|1||Carmen (Bizet)||188||La Bohème (Puccini)||243|
|2||Don Giovanni (Mozart)||179||Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart)||238|
|3||La Bohème (Puccini)||164||Carmen (Bizet)||212|
|4||Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)||152||Tosca (Puccini)||211|
|5||Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)||133||La Traviata (Verdi)||200|
|6||La Traviata (Verdi)||126||Don Giovanni (Mozart)||156|
|7||Madama Butterfly (Puccini)||124||Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)||137|
|8||Tosca (Puccini)||123||Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)||124|
|9||Rigoletto (Verdi)||102||Madama Butterfly (Puccini)||112|
|10||Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart)||96||Rigoletto (Verdi)||102|
The order has changed, the titles haven't: the top ten is still the top ten. Così fan Tutte was at number eleven, making the Mozart/da Ponte combination the most extraordinary operatic partnership for sheer longevity of their output. One point of interest, though: the top ten operas accounted for 25% of all performances in 2011, down from 30% in 2012. Maybe the repertoire that audiences will accept is gradually broadening, which would be a great sign, in my opinion.
So that's it for another year's stats. As usual, if anyone has any comments or questions about different data, let us know, either by commenting here (if you want to be public) or using the contact form (if you want to be private).
5th January 2012