Sweden: 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?

Trappmäklare_Almqvist_Kons-husetKVAST 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.