Repertoire Statistics for 21 Music Institutions in Sweden during the 2016–2017, 2017–2018, and 2018–2019 Seasons

Read the report here (Swedish)

Sweden’s publicly financed music institutions perform more than 100,000 minutes of Western art music each year. But just what pieces are they playing? That question forms the basis for a recent report produced by the Swedish Society of Composers (FST) in partnership with KVAST, entitled “Repertoarstatistik över tjugoen svenska musikinstitutioner under spelåren 2016/2017, 2017/2018 och 2018/2019” (Repertoire Statistics for 21 Music Institutions in Sweden during the 2016–2017, 2017–2018, and 2018–2019 Seasons).

The report details the percentage of programmed repertoire dedicated to contemporary vs. historical composers, women vs. men composers, and composers working inside Sweden vs. outside Sweden. The survey covers the orchestral and chamber music repertoire as well as the use of electronic music.

“Three seasons is not a long period to track. Nonetheless, we were pleased to see a trend toward the performance of more contemporary music and more pieces by composers working in Sweden. The report indicates that programming is becoming more gender-equal, and we have achieved gender balance in the percentage of first performances,” said Martin Jonsson Tibblin, chair of FST. “Things are moving in the right direction, but we are still not satisfied with the overall results. We would like to see a speedier shift toward a higher percentage of contemporary music. Our survey will be important moving forward. It will help us make sure that the trend we are seeing now doesn’t taper off but continues its upward trajectory,” Jonsson Tibblin also said.

The total number of first performances has also risen, but remains low overall. The presence of electronic music is vanishingly small. A large portion of the programmed repertoire consists of historical compositions from between 1800 and 1949. This impacts the results with regard to gender balance, since those pieces tend to be both long and composed by men.

“Women composers still occupy a painfull small space in the repertoire overall. On the other hand, we are very pleased to see the gender-equal figures for first performances. But we know that in situations like these, backlash is a real danger. That makes it even more important to consolidate the victories we’ve achieved after great effort and through the statistics we have been compiling since 2008. In the next few years we look forward to massively revitalizing the historical repertoire, adding back much more music by our mothers, our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers. There is so much left to discover,” commented Astrid Pernille Hartmann, chair of KVAST.

The present report is a follow-up and extension of a study conducted by FST and KVAST in 2015. It is based on data made publicly available by music institutions and detailed in their season programs. The data was analyzed and compiled by Statisicon.

The music institutions included in the study are: Blåsarsymfonikerna (the Swedish Wind Ensemble), Camerata Nordica, Dalasinfoniettan (the Dala Sinfonietta), Gävle Symfoniorkester (the Gävle Symphony Orchestra), GöteborgsOperan (the Göteborg Opera), Göteborgs Symfoniker (the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra), Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester (the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra), Jönköpings Sinfonietta (the Jönköping Sinfonietta), Kungliga Filharmonikerna (the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra), Kungliga Operan (the Royal Swedish Opera), the Malmö Opera, Malmö SymfoniOrkester (the Malmö Symphony Orchestra), Musica Vitae, Nordiska Kammarorkestern (the Nordic Chamber Orchestra), Nordiska Kammarensemblen (the Nordic Chamber Ensemble), Nordiska Blåsarkvintetten (the Nordic Wind Quintet), Norrköpings Symfoniorkester (the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra), Norrlandsoperan, Svenska Kammarorkestern (the Swedish Chamber Orchestra), Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester (the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra), Radiokören (the Swedish Radio Choir), Uppsala Kammarorkester (the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra), Uppsala Kammarsolister (the Uppsala Chamber Soloists), Linnékvintetten (the Linné Quintet), the Västerås Sinfonietta and the Wermland Opera.

For further comment, contact KVAST chair Astrid Pernille Hartmann. Tel.: +46 (0)73–029 79 91. E-mail:

The report was presented on 25 September at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm. Representatives from the media, the music institutions, the Swedish Ministry of Culture, the publishing industry, the Swedish Postcode Foundation, the freelance music sector and many more were in attendance. Many thanks to the Academy for making their premises available for the presentation. KVAST also wishes to thank FST for its partnership on this statistical analysis. Our collaboration made possible a much more comprehensive approach than we could have achieved alone.

2015: 4% performance rate for music by women

A short synopsis of an extensive survey

Since 2008 KVAST has compiled statistics on the distribution of music by men and women composers performed by Swedish music institutions. The latest statistics cover the 2014–2015 season and are expanded from previous years. For the new report, KVAST and the Society of Swedish Composers (Föreningen Svenska Tonsättare) teamed up for the first time to produce a nation-spanning review of all eighteen publicly financed Swedish orchestras and five opera houses. The goal was to create a detailed and consolidated picture of the music performed in public spaces, with regard to three parameters:

Balance of men and women
Balance of Swedish and non-Swedish composers
Balance of new music and older repertoire

The statistics are compiled from the general programs published by the music institutions themselves, either in print or on the web. This constitutes the source material. The new report calculated and categorized total performance minutes (durata) for 18 orchestras and 5 opera houses for the 2014 fall season and the 2015 spring season.

The results:

1. Balance of men and women
Music composed by men: 96%
Music composed by women: 4%

2. Balance of Swedish and non-Swedish composers
Music composed by Swedish composers: 10.2%
Music composed by non-Swedish composers (combined total): 89.8%

3. Balance of new compositions and older repertoire
Music composed after 1984: 11.5%
Music composed before 1984: 88.5%

The 2016–2017 season: Light at the end of the tunnel?

KVAST will not collect statistics for the upcoming 2016–2017 season. However, we would like to direct your attention to a huge step forward as seen in the repertoire of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic at the Stockholm Concert House,

For the 2016–2017 season, the Royal Philharmonic at the Stockholm Concert House has programmed works by some 35 woman composers. These will include around 30 pieces on the main concert stage as well as installations in the foyer created by four young composers from Konstmusiksystrar, a network for women and transgender composers under age 30, for the Sommaröppet program to run in June–August on the theme Listening.

Also this season, the Philharmonic will collaborate with KVAST to offer a series of seminars about and with contemporary women composers.

At the core of KVAST is our repertoire bank, recently translated to English. It is a catalogue of music composed by women, with special focus on contemporary Swedish composers.

The Repertoire Bank

“The website and the repertoire database that KVAST has put together are outstanding.
The KVAST site has been immensely useful for our programming committee as we have been able to scan through the many women composers and compile lists of composers and works of special interest to us.”

– Stefan Forsberg, CEO and Artistic Director, Stockholm Concert Hall
and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra consists of 105 of Sweden’s foremost classical musicians. Their base is the historic Stockholm Concert Hall, situated on Hötorget in the heart of Stockholm. This famous blue building is a venue for world-class concerts and hosts the annual Nobel Prize and Polar Music Prize award ceremonies. The orchestra’s chief conductor and artistic advisor is Sakari Oramo. The CEO and Artistic Director is Stefan Forsberg.

About us

The Swedish Association of Women Composers (Kvinnlig Anhopning av Svenska Tonsättare – KVAST) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise awareness for women composers and promote the performance of their music.
What’s a kvast, you may ask? In Swedish, the word kvast means “broom.”


The Repertoire Bank

At over 3,000 works (and counting), our database of music by women composers is among the largest in the world! Browse or search the records and hear samples of a wide range of music: symphonic and chamber, electronic and live electronic, choral and operatic. Find compositions by women based on genre, difficulty level, instrumentation, title or duration.

To The Repertoire Bank

Knowledge and Inspiration

Listen, look, read and learn more!
Here you can find selection of women composers with short bio and also a statistics report from Sweden 2016-2019.
Furthermore there are links to lists on Spotify and Youtube, a collection of Links and Tips and link to theory examples.

Knowledge and Inspiration