An Open Letter to the Orchestras of Sweden

To the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras of Sweden

General Managers and Program Committees

An Invitation to Partner with KVAST in the Repertoire Jolt Project


We are pleased to announce that KVAST has started a new project, the “Repertoire Jolt.” With this project we want to take the next step toward gender equality in our music culture, together with you! We think your desire to work on making your repertoire more gender-equal probably exceeds your opportunities to actively do so. We also know the issue is complex, and you may not have always have the resources you need.

Therefore, KVAST would like to suggest that we work together. Let’s establish a dialogue, so we can help support you in taking more active steps and setting your own concrete goals for increased gender equality.

Five years ago, KVAST started collecting statistics about the repertoire of Sweden’s largest orchestras. What we saw was that the general programs consisted almost entirely (99%) of music written by men, and a very long time ago. So we went to see the orchestra managers and the program committees. They asked us for more information and support – consulting on repertoire development, introductions to composers, etc. – so that they could start moving toward a more gender-equal repertoire, which everyone was interested in doing.

We think we’ve done our part. Unfortunately, we have to say that our efforts have not had much effect.

We want to follow up on our work and analyze the situation with you. We want to hear what repertoire goals you think are realistic and what you need to achieve them. And we want to make a plan to get you there. Our musical culture, today and in the future, depends on your commitment!

The Repertoire Jolt project will run from the fall of 2013 to the spring of 2014, with the support of a gender equality grant from the Swedish Performing Arts Agency.